Former President Donald Trump has endorsed two Republican candidates for statewide office in Minnesota, but his support may not be as helpful as he thinks. Secretary of state nominee Kim Crockett and gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen both reacted cautiously to Trump’s endorsement, which came just a week before the election. Trump’s endorsement also repeated his false claims of election fraud, which could hurt the credibility of the Republican nominees.
Crockett Surprised by Trump’s Endorsement
Kim Crockett, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, said she was surprised by Trump’s endorsement, which came in a message on his new social media platform, Truth Social. Trump praised Crockett as “a strong and wonderful woman” and said she would “protect the integrity of your vote” in Minnesota. He also claimed that “fraud is rampant” in the state and that the 2020 election was “rigged”.
Crockett issued a statement saying she appreciated the “unexpected vote of confidence” from Trump, but she also tried to distance herself from his allegations of fraud. She said she would guard the vote for all voters “no matter one’s party affiliation” and that she would “follow the law and the Constitution”. She also said she had not sought or received any financial support from Trump or his allies.
Crockett’s Democratic opponent, incumbent Steve Simon, said Trump’s endorsement showed that Crockett was “unfit” for the office of secretary of state. He said Crockett had been “spreading lies and conspiracy theories” about the election and that she would “undermine our democracy”. He also said Crockett had a “radical agenda” that would restrict voting rights and access for Minnesotans.
Jensen Downplays Trump’s Endorsement
Scott Jensen, the Republican nominee for governor, also received Trump’s endorsement on Truth Social. Trump called Jensen “a great leader” and “a true patriot” who would “fight for you and your family”. He also said Jensen would “stop the radical left agenda” of Governor Tim Walz, the Democratic incumbent.
Jensen, however, did not seem to welcome Trump’s endorsement. He said he had not actively sought the endorsement of any political leaders and that he was grateful for those who recognized his ability to lead and “heal Minnesota”. He also said he was focused on his own campaign and his vision for the state, not on Trump or Walz.
Jensen, a former state senator and a physician, has been trying to appeal to moderate and independent voters in Minnesota, a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. He has criticized Walz’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd. He has also proposed a “Minnesota First” agenda that includes lowering taxes, expanding school choice, and protecting the environment.
Trump’s Endorsement Could Backfire
Trump’s endorsement of Crockett and Jensen could be a double-edged sword for the Republican candidates. On one hand, it could energize and mobilize his loyal base of supporters, who still have a strong influence in the Republican Party. On the other hand, it could alienate and repel the independent and suburban voters, who have been shifting away from the Republican Party in recent years.
According to a recent MinnPost/Embold Research poll, Trump’s favorability ratings in Minnesota are among the lowest of any politician. Only 35% of the respondents said they felt very or somewhat favorable about him, while 57% said they felt very or somewhat unfavorable. Among independent voters, the gap was even wider: 20% favorable and 64% unfavorable.
Trump’s endorsement could also remind voters of his false and baseless claims of election fraud, which have been rejected by courts, election officials, and experts. His claims have also been contradicted by his own former attorney general, William Barr, and his former cybersecurity chief, Christopher Krebs. Trump’s endorsement could raise doubts about the integrity and competence of the Republican candidates, who may be seen as endorsing his lies or being beholden to his agenda.
Minnesota Voters to Decide on November 2
The Minnesota voters will have the final say on who will be their next secretary of state and governor on November 2. The latest polls show that both races are competitive, but the Democratic candidates have a slight edge. According to the MinnPost/Embold Research poll, Simon leads Crockett by 6 points, 46% to 40%, while Walz leads Jensen by 5 points, 47% to 42%.
The outcome of the races could have significant implications for the future of Minnesota and the nation. The secretary of state is responsible for overseeing the elections and ensuring their security and accuracy. The governor is responsible for managing the state’s budget, health, education, and public safety. The governor also has a role in the redistricting process, which will determine the political map of the state for the next decade.
The Minnesota voters will have to weigh the merits and flaws of each candidate and decide who they trust more to represent their interests and values. They will also have to consider the impact of Trump’s endorsement and whether it is a blessing or a curse for the Republican candidates.