Former state lawmaker and MyPillow General Counsel Doug Wardlow is making a second run for Minnesota attorney general, setting up a potential rematch against DFL Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Wardlow, who represented Eagan in the Minnesota House from 2011 to 2013, came within four points of beating Ellison in 2018 during a brutal contest.
The contentious election unearthed domestic abuse allegations against Ellison by a former partner, which he denied. Wardlow had to answer for allegations he had bullied a former high school classmate for being gay.
Ellison is a former four-term congressman from Minneapolis and was the first Muslim elected to Congress. He also is former Democratic National Committee deputy chair and once vied for chair of the committee, an influential national post.
Wardlow released a nearly five-minute campaign launch video Wednesday in which he seized on the destructive aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
The GOP candidate is attempting to tie Ellison to the rioting and arson that caused millions in property damage in the Twin Cities metro, although it’s unclear how the attorney general could’ve quelled the unrest. Ellison is prosecuting former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. The trial begins next month.
The rise in violent crime in Minneapolis and St. Paul could be potent fodder for Republicans to paint Democratic candidates as soft on crime, particularly after Minneapolis progressives rallied around the “defund the police” movement. Some moderate Democrats criticized the proposal for having cost them seats in the statehouse.
“I will stand with and defend our law enforcement, not defund them,” Wardlow said in his campaign launch.
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin criticized Wardlow in a statement, calling him a “right-wing extremist.”
He added: “Since his defeat, Doug Wardlow has only gotten more extreme and more dangerous…. The last thing Minnesotans want is a far-right extremist who does not believe in democracy like Doug Wardlow to serve as our attorney general.”