Republican Wardlow to run in primary for attorney general

Republican Doug Wardlow during his 2018 campaign for attorney general.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News 2018

Updated 8:45 p.m. Tuesday

Republican Doug Wardlow said Tuesday he will run in the August primary for Minnesota attorney general. 

Wardlow is a former state legislator who was the GOP candidate for attorney general in 2018 and lost to Democrat Keith Ellison. He lost his bid for the Republican endorsement to political newcomer Jim Schultz at the state convention last week. Ellison is seeking a second term this year.

In a video announcing his primary run, Wardlow called Ellison “the most extreme far left radical attorney general in the country.”  He said Schultz is “a creature of the RINO swamp” who lied and rigged the game to win the endorsement.  RINO of course means Republican in name only. 

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Schultz won the endorsement Friday at the Republican state convention in Rochester after another candidate, Tad Jude, left the race and threw his support to Schultz.

Minnesota GOP Convention
GOP attorney general candidate Jim Schultz speaks during the first day of the Minnesota State Republican Convention on Friday at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn.
Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP

Schultz responded by noting that Wardlow had repeatedly promised to abide by the party’s endorsement. 

"Through a hard-fought campaign, I always stated that I respect Doug Wardlow. With his announcement, Doug has lost my respect and that of the hundreds of thousands of Republican Party faithful who took him at his word,” Schultz said in a statement. ”There is nothing more representative of the establishment swamp than a career politician who fails to honor his promises. Doug has now lost three consecutive elections. Should he move forward with his plans, we will make it four consecutive elections in August.” 

The Republican Party of Minnesota said it will defend Schultz’s endorsement and Wardlow should end his campaign. 

"Not only did Doug Wardlow publicly commit to abiding by the party’s endorsement, Wardlow promised the MNGOP Nominations Committee that he would abide by the party’s endorsement,” said Mike Lonergan, the party’s executive director in a statement. “At the time, we assumed Doug Wardlow to be sincere, but sadly it seems it was an empty promise.” 

Former state Rep. Dennis Smith had said he would run in the Republican primary for attorney general, but he dropped out of the race Tuesday night and said he would support Schultz.