A simple Google search revealed the first sign that there are high stakes in the 2022 Republican primary to elect Minnesota’s attorney general.
Over the past few weeks, ads with titles such as “Doug Wardlow Lacks Integrity” and “Doug Wardlow Lies”, or “Who is Doug Wardlow Running for?” were displayed when you searched “Doug Wardlow”.
The ads looked like routine political hits, until you realized who sponsored them: “Paid by the Republican Party of Minnesota.”
Wardlow was the GOP nominee to be attorney general in 2018, however, he wasn’t endorsed this year. Although the ads were not visible this week, they indicated Wardlow’s main opponent – his party at least until Aug. 9, when the winner will face incumbent DFL Attorney general Keith Ellison.
Officials from the state GOP are still upset that Wardlow is ruining an otherwise successful effort to allow convention delegates, not primary voters, to determine the party’s general-election candidate. Those delegates endorsed Jim Schultz.
Because Wardlow had promised to honor the endorsement process, his presence on the ballot is particularly troubling for party leaders. Schultz attempted to dismiss the possibility of a contested primaries – either with Wardlow or Dennis Smith (ex-state legislator) – on the night of his convention victory.
Schultz stated at the convention that “The general election begins tomorrow.” “We are running against Keith Ellison,” Schultz said at the convention. He also noted a crucial fact about Minnesota politics: Republicans often endorse DFL primary voters, while DFL primary voters will sometimes buck the party endorsement. In fact, in the past four decades, no non-endorsed GOP candidate beat an endorsed candidate at a primary.
Wardlow led on the first and second ballots of the May convention, but was beaten by Tad Jude who dropped out. supported Schultz. Although Schultz was just short of 60 per cent on the third ballot, it appeared that he was headed for victory. Wardlow quit, promising to support Schultz and to “be with your fight.”
He said last week in an interview that the convention process had been tainted, and that lies about him were being spread on the convention floor. He also stated that hundreds of his supporters encouraged him to continue because he was truly “America First” – a reference to an organization behind another Trump campaign.
Recent campaign finance reports reveal that Wardlow raised $524,875 and had $34,536 cash. Schultz had raised $409 262 with $113 299 unspended. Ellison raised $935.587 and had $572,741 cash.
Public safety includes abortion and election fraud.
Schultz hails from South Haven, Wright County. His Minnesota roots can be traced back to a Civil War veteran who arrived in Minnesota in 1875. Schultz studied two years at the University of St. Thomas before he earned an undergraduate degree and continued his studies at Harvard Law School.
His experience in law includes private practice with local businesses and as in-house counsel at Minnesota-based investment company Varde Partners. His areas of expertise include compliance, business and regulatory law.
Schultz’s campaign didn’t respond to multiple requests for interviews.
Wardlow won the GOP nomination in 2018. He entered the race and received his party’s endorsement. However, the DFL side was upset by Lori Swanson’s late decision not to run for governor. Ellison won by four points, and he left his congressional seat to run for the state office that hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1971.
Wardlow was born in Eagan, and is a Georgetown University graduate and law school graduate. He served one term as a member of the state House of Representatives from Burnsville.
Wardlow has been representing national conservative organizations and causes in his legal practice. As MyPillow’s in-house counsel, Wardlow assisted Mike Lindell, MyPillow’s conspiracy theorist, with several legal challenges to the 2020 presidential elections results.
Wardlow is challenging the GOP-endorsed candidate for president is one thing. But Wardlow is pushing issues in ways that make Schultz, and GOP strategists, nervous. Schultz wants to concentrate on crime, crime, and crime with some inflation added in (polling suggests that those are issues that could work well for the GOP).
Wardlow is in agreement with Schultz regarding public safety. However, he frequently speaks out about his anti-abortion views. He claims that voter fraud has tainted the elections not only for 2020, but also for years prior, despite no evidence of widespread voter corruption.
Wardlow announced plans to “wage warfare” against the 1995 Doe v. Gomez state Supreme Court decision that gave women medical assistance a constitutional right to have an abortion and allowed them to receive state funding. Recent
A majority of Minnesota Democrats and Republicans support abortion rights in cases such as rape, incest and non-viable pregnancies, and when the mother’s health is at risk.
Wardlow stated, “I want the abortion business to pay attention.” Their activities will be scrutinized from the moment they take office to the end. If they make a mistake, the entire resources of the attorney general’s will be used against them.
Wardlow, who opposes abortion unless it saves the life of the mother’s child, accuses Schultz and state GOP of not doing enough against abortion rights. Schultz stated that he supports an abortion ban after the 20th. Wardlow claims this makes Schultz “effectively anti-choice,” calling him “Pro-choice Jim.”
Schultz cites Mankato’s pregnancy resource center that he founded and which counsels pregnant women against the use of abortion. Schultz also defends his antiabortion credentials. The Human Life Alliance, which publishes antiabortion literature as well as guides, has also been represented on Schultz’s board. Schultz stated that Republicans must be more aggressive during a preconvention forum sponsored the Minnesota Family Council. He stressed that many DFL leaders oppose restrictions on abortion and that polling shows many Minnesotans support these rights.
Schultz stated that “Democrats attack us”, then the media attack us, and then Republicans fall into defensive crouch.” “It’s going be offense, offense and offense if we are elected.”
Schultz prefers to campaign for public safety and avoids the subject. Schultz answered a question about abortion after his endorsement. He said that his job as attorney-general is to enforce existing laws and that the governor and Legislature can change abortion policies.
Schultz also tried to avoid questions regarding the 2020 election results. Wardlow, however.
Wardlow stated to convention delegates that Wardlow had been honored to stand alongside Mike Lindell in support of free speech and election integrity. “We will ensure that those who are stealing our election are sent to prison.”
Courts, election administrators, and even the Trump Justice Department have dismissed allegations that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen by Democrats. On his “The War Room ” program, Wardlow informed Steve Bannon that Trump had won Minnesota. He also said that he would train the police to detect and investigate election fraud.
Wardlow stated, “Once we have clear and clean elections in Minnesota we’ll discover that Minnesota has been an red state for quite a while.” Biden defeated Trump by over 7 percentage points, 233,012 ballots – in Minnesota two year ago.
Public safety parallels
However, the Republicans and Ellison have little in common on the issues they want to emphasize. Both condemned Ellison’s support for police reform and his criticisms about police behavior. Schultz claims Ellison supported “defund police” campaigns by supporting a Minneapolis ballot measure that would remake the department.
Schultz stated that it was wrong to support policies that lead to crime and violence plaguing communities at large during a press conference last month , which also featured a campaign ad featuring crime. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association have endorsed Schultz.
Both men say they will reorganize their office of attorney general (Schultz claims he’ll use a sledgehammer) in order to shift more resources towards the criminal division.
Schultz spoke out about assistant attorneys general, who enforce environmental regulations and business regulations.
The attorney general can only request assistance from the county attorneys or be directed by the governor to do so. Both candidates for the GOP stated that they would cooperate with local prosecutors and encourage more people to request their assistance. Wardlow stated he would be open to asking for more criminal case original jurisdiction, but Schultz said that he is not willing to do so and prefers to establish relationships with the counties.
Both condemned county attorneys for not prosecuting certain crimes and said they would use the high-profile office as a pressure tool to get them to change. Both are in favor of mandatory minimum sentences in prison for carjacking and firearm crimes. Both stated that they are against transgender athletes participating in girls’ sports. They also said they would fight for the elimination of critical race theory from schools. However, neither has cited any instances where it is being taught.
Wardlow and Schultz both stated that they opposed vaccine mandates and would not have supported Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders in the pandemic.
Schultz stated that he would not have been a complicit to Tim Walz in violating our constitutional rights at the Minnesota Family Council forum.
Wardlow stated, “I would have sued Governor.”