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Minnesota Republican fires back after Dem Party targets her candidacy on day 1: ‘I will never be cancelled’

FIRST ON FOX: Jennifer Carnihan, widow of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., and former chair of the state’s Republican Party, responded after the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (MN DFL) attacked her on the very first day of her candidacy. The party highlighted a sex trafficking scandal involving a former donor and workplace claims against Carnahan, who condemned what she claimed was a “double standard” against her.

“The MN DFL is clearly concerned about my candidacy, given my strong support in southern Minnesota,” Carnahan said in a Tuesday statement first released to Fox News Digital following her campaign announcement and the Democratic attack Monday. “My husband made history in 2018 when he flipped a US House seat from blue to red; and under my tenure we grew our party, retired $1 million in debt, flipped three US House seats from blue to red and turned Minnesota into a national battleground state for the 2020 Presidential election. I’m proud of the great successes we had in Minnesota during my chairmanship.”

Carnahan claimed that the Democrats singled her out because she contradicts their identity politics narrative.


“As an adopted Korean, minority woman with a strong conservative record, I undermine the identity politics Democrats have come to rely upon,” she said. “Everything they say women and minorities are disadvantaged in doing, I have done. Through my experiences, and truly because of them, I remain an ardent conservative and proud supporter of President Donald J. Trump.”

“The left has tried to cancel me before, but I will never be canceled,” Carnahan declared. “I will not be intimidated by them, or any in the Republican establishment guilty of the same. I will never accept the double-standards or guilt-by-association they are so desperately attempting to attack me with. Voters can already see through their desperate attempts, but I will never stop fighting to preserve my husband’s legacy.”

Carnahan announced her candidacy for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District on Monday, running to replace her husband, Hagedorn, who died last month. The special election primary will take place on May 24.

Hours after she announced her candidacy, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released a statement condemning her.

Rep.-elect Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., is seen after the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14, 2018. 

“It was not long ago that Jennifer Carnahan had to resign in disgrace as Chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party after her complete and total mismanagement of the organization became public,” Martin said.


“First, a political ally and close friend of Carnahan’s was indicted for child sex trafficking,” he noted. “Then, four of Carnahan’s former executive directors accused her of fostering a toxic work environment, other staffers accused Carnahan of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment, and yet another staffer said she was outed against her wishes by Carnahan and subsequently harassed.”

“Jennifer Carnahan’s leadership ability has been entirely discredited by those who worked most closely with her,” Martin concluded. “It is clear that Carnahan has no business serving in any elected office whatsoever.”

Carnahan did ineed resign as party chair after a federal grand jury indicted prominent Republican fundraiser and podcast co-host Anton Lazzaro on child sex trafficking charges In Aug. 2021. Carnahan condemned Lazzaro and pledged to donate to charity all funds he had given her. 

Carnahan addressed Martin’s claims in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“A donor did some bad things which I condemned immediately,” she said. “The question no one seems to ask is why I was singled out, despite other candidates, organizations, and national leaders from Minnesota also having accepted thousands of dollars of his contributions. There is clearly a double standard at play here. It’s time to move on.” 

She also dismissed the accusation that she had turned a blind eye to sexual harassment.

“During my tenure as chair there were two sexual harassment reports made,” Carnahan noted. “We took those reports seriously, investigated and terminated two employees within days. As a woman who has been sexually harassed myself, I would never tolerate this behavior. To insinuate otherwise is completely wrong.”


Carnahan became the first Asian American woman elected to run either major party in Minnesota, serving as the state’s Republican Party chair from 2017-2021. Under her leadership, the Minnesota GOP paid off $1 million in debt and flipped three House seats – Minnesota’s 1st and 8th Congressional Districts in 2018 and the 7th Congressional District in 2020 – from blue to red. Hagedorn represented the 1st Congressional District from 2019 to 2022.

No fewer than seven Republicans have entered the race, including one former state representative and two current state representatives. Five candidates have entered the Democratic Farmer Labor Party primary, including Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, and Jeffrey Ettinger, former CEO of Hormel Foods.

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