Political newcomer Jim Schultz defeated Doug Wardlow in the Republican primary for Minnesota attorney general Tuesday night.
Schultz was endorsed by the state party and has the backing of police, but Wardlow’s name recognition from his 2018 bid for the position and support from national figures like Steve Bannon and Mike Lindell had some insiders concerned the base would rally to his side.
That didn’t happen. Instead, Schultz soundly defeated Wardlow, leading 53% to 35% with 96% of precincts reporting as of late Tuesday night.
“Tonight, we’ve taken a big step toward making Minnesota a safer place to live, work, and raise a family. Now, we must focus on finishing the job of restoring public safety to Minnesota by defeating in November the most far-left attorney general in Minnesota’s history,” Schultz said in a statement.
“Under Keith Ellison, Minnesota has become less safe — carjackings, murders, and other crime have crippled our state, and Ellison’s support of defunding police would make things worse for everyone, especially the most vulnerable, in this great state,” he added.
Many observers consider the race for attorney general the GOP’s best chance for a statewide victory this November. Lyndon B. Johnson was president the last time Republicans won the office.
Ellison narrowly defeated Wardlow in 2018 and was trailing Schultz in a recent poll.
“Keith Ellison and the Democrats are responsible for a crime wave of historic proportions by supporting radical policies like defunding the police. Jim Schultz will uphold our laws to support law enforcement, defend our Constitutional rights and make our streets safer,” Minnesota GOP Chair David Hann said. “We look forward to restoring the rule of law in the State of Minnesota by electing Jim Schultz as Attorney General this November.”