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Minnesota attorney general candidate will continue to run without GOP backing, despite pledge

Republican candidate Doug Wardlow is continuing his campaign after political newcomer Jim Schultz won the Minnesota GOP endorsement Friday at the party's state convention in Rochester. Typically, Minnesota Republican candidates honor their party’s endorsement and do not run in the August primary election.

Doug Wardlow.jpg
Doug Wardlow
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ST. PAUL — Republican Minnesota attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow is continuing his campaign despite pledging to drop out if he did not get his party’s endorsement.

In a video statement posted Tuesday, May 17, Wardlow said he would continue campaigning to become the state’s top prosecutor. Republicans are hoping to defeat Democratic-Farmer-Labor Attorney General Keith Ellison in the November election. Wardlow ran against Ellison in 2018 and lost.

Political newcomer Jim Schultz on Friday, May 13, won the Minnesota GOP endorsement at the party's state convention in Rochester. Typically, Minnesota Republican candidates honor their party’s endorsement and do not run in the August primary election.

Wardlow, who is general counsel for Mike Lindell’s MyPillow company, had pledged to step aside if he did not get the endorsement, but in his statement claimed he had been denied the nomination by political insiders and “Republicans in name only.”

“When I got into this race 15 months ago I knew we would face opposition from the swamp within our own party,” Wardlow said in the video. “Unfortunately at our Republican state convention on Friday the RINO swamp got its way and the people lost out.”

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Schultz was able to gain an edge over Wardlow after receiving the support of Tad Jude, who dropped out of the race after failing to gain a commanding number of delegates in early voting at the convention. Wardlow in his video characterized this as unfair as he had gained a lead in the initial rounds of voting.

Schultz shot back at Wardlow’s “swamp” comments in a Tuesday statement.

"Through a hard-fought campaign, I always stated that I respect Doug Wardlow. With his announcement, Doug has lost my respect and that of the hundreds of thousands of Republican Party faithful who took him at his word,” Schultz said. "There is nothing more representative of the establishment swamp than a career politician who fails to honor his promises.”

Shultz
Jim Schultz speaks with reporters at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester on Friday, May 13, after receiving the Minnesota Republican Party endorsement for attorney general.
Alex Derosier / Forum News Service

The Minnesota Republican Party rebuked Wardlow for reneging on his commitment to drop out if he failed to gain the endorsement, saying Wardlow had promised the party’s nomination committee that he would honor the endorsement.

“At the time, we assumed Doug Wardlow to be sincere, but sadly it seems it was an empty promise,” Minnesota GOP Director Mike Lonergan said. “We ask Doug Wardlow to honor the commitment he made to delegates and respect their decision by ending his campaign for attorney general.”

Lonergan said the Republican Party of Minnesota is committed to defending Schultz in the August primary election which will ultimately decide which Republican will challenge Ellison in November.

Republican candidate Dennis Smith, who did not seek the endorsement at the convention, continues to campaign for attorney general. Before the convention, five candidates were vying for the Republican nomination. Now there are three.

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Alex Derosier covers Minnesota breaking news and state government for Forum News Service.
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