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Resolution to condemn Jan. 6 insurrection, affirm 2020 election results stalls in Minnesota Senate

By: - February 8, 2021 11:13 am

Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers in the Minnesota Senate are urging their Republican colleagues to approve a resolution that condemns the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and affirms “support for democracy, rule of law, and the certified results of Minnesota’s election.”

Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, on Monday criticized Republicans for resisting efforts to bring to a vote on the Senate floor a resolution previously approved in the Minnesota House with strong bipartisan support, 111-8. 

Kent told reporters that she was disappointed by Gazelka’s response to the resolution, saying Senate Republicans want to water it down. She said it was important leaders from four legislative caucuses are unified.

GOP legislative leaders have refused to unequivocally condemn false claims that widespread fraud cost former President Donald Trump the 2020 election. During a Jan. 11 panel, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said it was important to listen to voters who believed the election was fraudulent.

“Words matter, and it is our responsibility as leaders to speak out against lies,” Kent said on Monday. 

The effort to approve the resolution comes on the eve of Trump’s second impeachment trial, where he faces a single charge of inciting an insurrection. The pro-Trump mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol as Congress convened to certify the election were motivated by the belief the election was stolen or fraudulent, views that have found a home among Minnesota Republicans

In Minnesota, the list of Republicans who have spread such claims or entertained allegations of fraud includes U.S. Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Michelle Fischbach, who voted against certifying some of the electoral college votes, even after the Capitol attack. 

They also include Trump surrogates like MyPillow CEO and potential GOP candidate for governor Mike Lindell, who has continued to stoke the false claims of a stolen election and even made accusations — contradicted by reams of video evidence — that the siege of the Capitol was actually carried out by members of antifa. 

Others who have stoked fraud claims include high-ranking lawmakers like state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, chairwoman of the Senate elections committee. She joined more than a dozen fellow Republican lawmakers who wanted to overturn Minnesota’s election results in favor of Trump. The effort, spearheaded by state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said the election was illegal because Secretary of State Steve Simon agreed to a consent decree that extended deadlines for mail-in voting, among other changes.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.

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