Schultz holds off Wardlow in GOP primary for MN attorney general


The contested primary, which the state Republican party did not want to see happen, ended peacefully Tuesday night with Jim Schultz being elected attorney general. He easily defeated Doug Wardlow.

Schultz, a business and private practice attorney, won more than 50% of the vote in Republican side of primary. This made Schultz the party’s nominee for 2018. Wardlow came in second, while Sharon Anderson was third.

Schultz now has the opportunity to turn his attention towards Keith Ellison, the DFL incumbent who was only marginally opposed in his primary.

Schultz stated that he would focus on crime and public safety, and not Wardlow’s issues of abortion rights or the 2020 presidential election.

“Tonight will be an important first step in making sure that we beat Keith Ellison in 2022.” Schultz stated at his election night party. “Tonight will be an essential first step in making Keith Ellison win in 2022 span>

Schultz stated that he had to work hard to gain support from Wardlow’s supporters. He said, “I believe that they will.”

Ellison will, however, use his defense for abortion rights in a state that polls support it. Ellison will also tie Schultz and Trump to the GOP’s rejection of the 2020 results, despite claims by election officials or the courts or the former president’s justice ministry that there was no widespread fraud.

The first-term attorney General stated that the choices were clear for general election voter in an election night statement.

span style=”font weight: 400 They can either elect an attorney general who has protected their right to legal abortion and will continue doing so or someone who has pledged to attack Minnesotans’ freedom to have a safe, legal abortion,” Ellison stated.

The GOP primary for attorney General was the only toss up for statewide political office. The general election will be won by all other party-endorsed candidates. Incumbent DFL Gov. Tim Walz will face Scott Jensen, former state senator; Kim Crockett, incumbent DFL Secretary-of-State Steve Simon will take on Kim Crockett, Republican challenger; Julie Blaha, incumbent state Auditor will contest against Ryan Wilson.

Both Wardlow and Schultz sought endorsement from the party at the May Rochester convention. Both candidates pledged to withdraw if the endorsement was given to Wardlow. Wardlow, however, decided that he would enter the primary, even though he had not supported him in his convention withdrawal speech. While David Hann, the chair of the State GOP, criticized Wardlow’s decision, Schultz mostly ignored Wardlow over the three-month period between the convention and the primary.

His messaging was mostly against Ellison, though he did tease Wardlow by tweeting ” ” which read ” I am the ONLY candidate that hasn’t yet lost to Keith Ellison,” in reference to Wardlow’s defeat in 2018.

Anderson was also on the GOP primary ballot. Anderson is a perennial candidate but lost to Wardlow during the 2018 GOP primary. Her record for state GOP election history includes being the last non-endorsed candidate who beat an endorsed GOP candidate in a statewide partisan office. She won the 1994 attorney general primary but lost to Skip Humphrey during the general election. Arne Carlson, who was endorsed by Allen Quist, won the party primary to governor that same year.

Despite these exceptions, GOP voters honor their convention endorsement process more than DFL voters.

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Doug Wardlow, despite his support for the convention withdrawal speech, decided that he would enter the primary.

The general election ballot will not feature any candidate from legal marijuana parties. This is a departure from 2018, when a candidate from Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis won almost 6 percent of the vote.

Another historic superlative will be in play during the general election. Since 1971, Minnesota Republicans haven’t held the office of attorney general.

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