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Minnesota: Election Denial in Races for Election Administration Positions

A collection of examples illustrates the prevalence of election denial in 2022 contests for the offices that will run the next elections in Minnesota.

Last Updated: August 11, 2022
Published: March 29, 2022
Illustration featuring the state of Minnesota
Brennan Center for Justice
View the entire Election Denial in Races for Election Administration Positions series

Below, we compile quotes from campaigns’ ads, websites, social media posts, and state­ments repor­ted in the media that illus­trate endorse­ment or oppos­i­tion to elec­tion denial — claims that the process or result of the last pres­id­en­tial elec­tion was ille­git­im­ate. Each of the candid­ates is running for an office that will play a role in admin­is­ter­ing future elec­tions in Minnesota. Inform­a­tion about the finan­cing of these campaigns and those in other battle­ground states can be found here.

Governor

Paul Gazelka (with­drew)

State Sen. Paul Gazelka (R), respond­ing to a debate ques­tion about what changes to Minnesota voting law are needed, sugges­ted that Trump lost because the state does not require “Voter ID.” He called for elim­in­at­ing mail ballots because: “That’s where we saw all the corrup­tion.” He has acknow­ledged the 2020 Elect­oral College result, while main­tain­ing, “I don’t think the elec­tion was fair.”

Scott Jensen (won primary)

Former state Sen. Scott Jensen (R), when asked in a debate whether Biden won the Elect­oral College, said, “I can’t know what I don’t know, and I think we have to take that atti­tude towards 2020.” He went on to claim that, in Arizona, dead people voted, and more mail ballots were returned than were sent by offi­­cials. In another candid­ate forum, Jensen said: “You should be angry that your elec­­tion process was bastard­­ized, and it’s got to change,” and he called for a “forensic audit.” In remarks at a local GOP conven­tion in April, Jensen implied that Secret­ary of State Steve Simon could be imprisoned for the way he has run elec­tions, saying cheat­ers are “going to jail” and Simon “better check out to see if you look good in stripes.”

Mike Murphy (with­drew)

Mike Murphy (R), the mayor of Lexing­ton, Minnesota, said in a debate: “I do believe there was voter fraud at a massive scale across this coun­try.” In another forum, he said: “There was elec­tion fraud in 2020,” and added that he is on a panel work­ing to “decer­tify” Wiscon­sin’s elec­tion. He called for a “forensic audit process” in Minnesota and prom­ised as governor he will audit the 2020 elec­tion. His campaign website says: “The 2020 elec­tion high­lighted the inac­curacies in our voting system.”

Secretary of State

Kim Crock­ett (won primary)

Kim Crock­­­ett (R), a lawyer work­ing with the elec­­­­tion integ­rity group Minnesota Voters Alli­ance, has ques­­tioned the results of the 2020 elec­­­­tion and argued that voting proced­ures enable fraud. At the state Repub­­lican Party conven­­tion, the Crock­ett campaign showed a video that depic­ted incum­bent Secret­ary of State Steve Simon controlled by puppet strings in the hands of investor and phil­an­­throp­ist George Soros with the caption, “Let’s wreck elec­­tions forever and ever.” She is also part of a national right-wing network that is recruit­ing an army of activ­ists to become poll work­ers. The network is led by Cleta Mitchell, a Repub­lican lawyer who attemp­ted to help former Pres­id­ent Trump change the 2020 elec­tion results in Geor­gia. She sent support­ers an email in May cele­b­rat­ing Repub­­lican efforts to recruit elec­­tion judges. The email says the effort will “help flip Minnesota.” Another Crock­­ett email says Repub­­lic­ans need to over­­­come a “margin of fraud” in the upcom­ing elec­­tion. In March, she tweeted an image read­ing “2020? Never Again.” In the tweet, Crock­­­ett pledges: “I’m commit­ted to ensur­ing ineligible ballots and illegal elec­­­tion proced­ures do not disen­­­­­fran­chise legit­­­im­ate voters.”

Part of a fundrais­ing email from the Crock­ett campaign.

Steve Simon (won primary)

Minnesota Secret­ary of State Steve Simon (D) said of elec­­tion denial that the “cloud of disin­­form­a­­tion” is a prob­lem, asser­t­ing that people are push­ing it for polit­ical and finan­­cial advant­age. In a Janu­ary 2022 inter­­­view, Simon said the elec­­­tion “was funda­­­ment­ally fair, accur­ate, honest, and secure.” He described Trump’s claims of voting irreg­u­lar­it­ies as “not just factu­ally wrong. It is corrod­ing our demo­cracy in many ways.”

Screenshot of Steve Simon tweet