Wardlow running in primary after losing GOP backing for AG

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Attorney General candidate Doug Wardlow announced Tuesday that he’ll run in the August primary after losing the Republican endorsement to business attorney Jim Schultz at the party’s convention last weekend.

Wardlow, who was the party’s nominee in 2018, is general counsel at MyPillow and an ally of its founder, Mike Lindell, a leading proponent of false accusations that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump.

In a video posted on social media, Wardlow said he’s fighting what he called the “swamp” in the Minnesota GOP. He described it as a “fear-driven” Republican-in-name-only establishment and “elites who care more about staying in power than they care about the people.”

The executive director of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Mike Lonergan, criticized Wardlow’s decision to continue his campaign, saying his public commitment to abide by the party’s endorsement was an "empty promise."

Wardlow’s entry sets up at least a three-way primary race for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison. Former legislator Dennis Smith, who skipped the convention, had already said he planned to run in the Aug. 9 primary.

Wardlow called both Schultz and Smith “creatures of the swamp" who can’t beat Ellison in November.

The Republican Party of Minnesota released the statement below in response to Doug Wardlow’s decision to continue his campaign for attorney general:

"Not only did Doug Wardlow publicly commit to abiding by the party’s endorsement, Wardlow promised the MNGOP Nominations Committee that he would abide by the party’s endorsement. At the time, we assumed Doug Wardlow to be sincere, but sadly it seems it was an empty promise. We ask Doug Wardlow to honor the commitment he made to delegates and respect their decision by ending his campaign for Attorney General. If he does not, the Republican Party of Minnesota is 100 percent committed to defending our endorsement in the primary.” – Republican Party of Minnesota Executive Director Mike Lonergan