5 GOP gubernatorial candidates avoid saying Biden won the presidency

By: - December 20, 2021 6:00 am

Minnesota GOP candidates for governor during a Dec. 15 debate. Alpha News screenshot

Five Republican candidates running for governor in Minnesota would not unequivocally state that President Joe Biden won the presidential election last week.

During a Minnesota Family Council debate for conservative candidates on Wednesday, moderator Hugh Hewitt asked whether Biden won a constitutional majority in the Electoral College.

“I can’t know what I don’t know, and I think we have to take that attitude towards 2020,” said former state Sen. Scott Jensen, a family doctor from Chaska who has promoted views on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines out of step with the majority of the medical community. 

Jensen said he spoke to people on the ground in Maricopa County, Arizona, who said “only 282 dead people voted” and 9,000 more mail-in ballots were returned than were sent out. County election officials have said those findings were largely the result of a misunderstanding of election procedures, according to the Arizona Mirror.

The Republican-led election audit of Maricopa County confirmed that Biden not only beat Trump, he beat him by about 260 more votes than the official election results.

But that hasn’t swayed Jensen: “I don’t think there’s any question that we’ve had enough shenanigans and we should want to do something about our election integrity.”  

Former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka came the closest to accepting the election results, saying, “I don’t think the election was fair, but I do think we have the results we have and the Electoral College is the way that we determine the election.” 

“Each state does their own deal,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of how that all played out. I focused on Minnesota.”

After talking at length, Sen. Michelle Benson was pressed by the moderator to simply answer the question: Did Biden win? 

Her answer: “He was certified by Congress as having won the Electoral College,” 

Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy said he believes there was massive voter fraud nationwide, although he couldn’t pinpoint the evidence because he’s not “privy to the scheme.” 

And candidate Neil Shah skirted the issue, saying  he grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and can’t say the last time that city had “a free and fair election,” so the problem is “not unique to 2020.” 

Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement that the candidates’ answers show they have more allegiance to Trump than to Minnesotans and democracy. 

“Every candidate launched baseless and reprehensible attacks on the legitimacy of our elections in order to spread fear and disinformation. We must all come together to reject these blatant attacks on democracy if we are to remain a country with free and fair elections.”

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs.