Rochester, Minn. Attorney Kim Crockett won the endorsement of the Minnesota Republican Party for secretary of state on Friday, laying the groundwork for a highly partisan Republican campaign with an overabundance of electoral lies.
The office oversees elections.
Crockett earned support during the Republican Party of Minnesota’s state convention in Rochester after taking an insurmountable lead in the first ballot, besting businessman Kelly Jahner-Byrne.
The current Secretary of State, Steve Simon, a Democrat, was elected in 2018 and is seeking re-election. Simon is also expected to find support at the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention in Rochester next week.
Crockett, an attorney who has served as an advocate for conservative causes, including as general counsel for the Center for the American Experiment, has so far provided the convention’s most partisan rhetoric.
On Friday, a video for his campaign that was played out to the convention crowd showed financier George Soros as a puppet master for election figures, including Simon. Such imagery based on conspiracy theories has been widely criticized, as the anti-Semitic trope of Jews controlling vast swaths of society.
Crockett painted November’s general election in colors commemorating the American Civil War. “Can we unite as the party of Lincoln to defeat the party of slavery and tyranny?” She said the latter, referring to the Democratic Party.
As far as voting goes, Crockett echoed Simon’s common Republican criticism: that he used the public health crisis of COVID to change election laws in violation of the state constitution. Such changes, which loosened voting rules to make absentee voting easier, have been upheld by courts.
On Friday, Crockett never outright reiterated the false and baseless claims that none of the 2020 election results were valid, but left guessing.
“Simon used COVID as a cover for how we vote and then how rolls are counted,” she said later: “We need to return to the civic traditions that unite us, such as individual Voting effectively and rejecting unsecured chaotic absentee voting systems and vulnerable wireless devices connected to the Internet.
A native of South St. Paul and 2001 Mrs. Minnesota, Jahner-Byrne began her political career as campaign manager for the last successful Republican Secretary of State, Mary Kifmeyer, who is now a state senator. In her speech seeking support in front of about 2,200 delegates, Jahner-Byrne said she wanted to focus on the “professional services side” of the office, which oversees professional and business licensing for the state. However, she also said of the 2020 election: “We can never repeat wrongdoing.”
Legally speaking, there is no point in supporting the party. Candidates still have until May 31 to register their names on the August 9 primary ballots. The primary winners will face each other in the November 8 general election.