Jim Schultz, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Minnesota attorney general, announced this week a six-point plan to fight crime should voters elect him to office.
Schultz gave an overview of his plan at a Monday press conference in the Capitol. Key provisions of the plan include the appointment of 30 or more criminal attorneys to help county attorneys prosecute crime, the codification of carjacking as a specific crime, and longer prison terms for repeat violent offenders.
The conservative outsider is hoping to challenge Attorney General Keith Ellison in the general election following an August primary contest against Doug Wardlow. Schultz made no bones about his willingness, if elected, to publicly call out prosecutors and judges who pursue weaker charges or impose sentences less than the mandatory minimum.
“If prosecutors are not interested in prosecuting violent crime, they’re going to have to find a new job,” Schultz said. “When there is gun crime out there, we have to have judges who impose at least the mandatory minimum, and in many cases substantially more.”
Schultz took the opportunity on multiple occasions to criticize Attorney General Ellison. He accused Ellison of caring more about “harassing businesses” with “specious” deceitful-practice claims than fighting crime. He also attacked Ellison’s promotion of “far-left” policies that exacerbate violent crime.
“I think it is immoral to embrace policies that … result in kids, when they’re driving to get a Big Mac, they get shot in their car,” Schultz said. “We have an attorney general interested in everything but that, interested in these far-left policies that appeal to about 10% of the state, while there are children literally being shot in Minnesota streets.”
One notable moment in the press conference came during the Q&A, when Schultz said he would support a sentence commutation for incarcerated ex-police officer Kim Potter, who’s serving two years for the killing of Daunte Wright.
Schultz said Potter was charged and convicted for “political purposes” and that her sentence has been “more than enough.”
“She made a serious mistake, for which there should be consequences,” he continued. “But consequences under a statute that is simply inapplicable to the facts as they developed in that case was deeply wrong.”
If elected to the attorney general’s office, Schultz would sit on the Minnesota Board of Pardons along with the governor and state Supreme Court chief justice. Dr. Scott Jensen, Republican candidate for governor, has previously said he would support commuting Potter’s sentence.
Ellison, for his part, has focused his anti-crime efforts on regulating guns. On Monday, he announced that he was joining an amicus brief in support of the Biden administration’s new rule on ghost guns.
“My job is to protect Minnesotans,” Ellison said. “In the current epidemic of gun violence, ghost guns are a major threat to Minnesotans’ safety.”