AG candidate Doug Wardlow promises to 'fire 42 DFL attorneys' if elected

The Republican had promised to be non-political in office.
Publish date:

Republican Attorney General candidate Doug Wardlow is coming under scrutiny for comments made during a private fundraiser this week.

Audio recorded by a DFL staffer obtained by Bring Me The News, which had earlier been sent to MPR, reveals Wardlow promising a mass firing of Democratic attorneys currently working at the AG's Office under Lori Swanson in the event of his election.

"It’s really exciting now to be in a position for the first time in a half century to take this office back," he said. 

"We’re going to fire 42 Democratic attorneys right off the bat and get Republican attorneys in there."

This seems to be at odds with Wardlow's previous proclamations that he will take a non-political approach to the AG's office, accusing his opponent Keith Ellison of being too political.

In the wake of the audio's release, his campaign manager Billy Grant told BMTN that politics won't play a role in who Wardlow hires and fires should he be elected, despite what he said at fundraiser.

"As Doug has said on numerous occasions, he will appoint assistants and deputies who believe in the rule of law and the Constitution. There will be no litmus test for party affiliation," he said.

Wardlow has been keen to appear apolitical throughout the campaign, with MinnPost reporting earlier this week that he has not publicly stated many policy positions.

But Wardlow has been questioned over his previous work as an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is noted for its anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage positions, and he is himself a former Minnesota lawmaker, having been elected to House District 38B as a Republican in 2010.

Follow Bring Me The News on Flipboard for the latest stories

Minnesota DFL Party chairman Ken Martin said it's worrying that Wardlow would take a partisan approach to his staff selections.

"The attorney general’s office should attract the best and the brightest, regardless of political affiliation, because the law doesn’t have a political affiliation," Martin said. "The law should be applied equally to all people and all people should be afforded its protections."

Wardlow has been critical of Ellison for suggesting he would use the AG office to oppose President Donald Trump's policies, with Ellison having said at the beginning of his run for AG that "No one — not even a president — is above the law."

He has also criticized current AG Lori Swanson for joining national lawsuits against the Trump administration.

In a statement released later on Friday, Wardlow accused Ellison and the DFL of a "desperate attack" on his campaign.

"In the entirety of my comments, I clearly stated that the current Attorney General’s Office has been nothing but political. I further stated that I am running to take back the Attorney General’s Office for the cause of the rule of law, the Constitution and for liberty, not for the Republican party.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves-Grizzlies game off, KAT tests postive for COVID

The Timberwolves star was among several players that are dealing with COVID-related issues.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.16.44 PM

Heather Brown named as new WCCO 'This Morning' anchor

She will be joining Jason DeRusha on the CBS affiliate's Morning Show.

DPS John Harrington

DPS Commissioner: No credible threats to state Capitol, but ready if something arises

Local and state law enforcement officials have a plan in case a threat arises.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Here are snow totals from Thursday-Friday winter storm

It's a slushy mess in the metro, but snow did pile up in southern counties.

tim walz

Walz fury after report that government's COVID vaccine reserve is nonexistent

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Trump Administration has shipped out all the vaccines it has already, with none in reserve.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on MLK Day 2021?

Local government offices will generally be closed on Monday.

BMTN 900x450 (8)

Company that falsely promised student loan forgiveness banned from MN

It's also been ordered to repay $11,499 in fees taken from Minnesotans.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for January 15

Hospitalizations are the lowest in Minnesota since October 25.


Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.


GOP's Wardlow under fire over Islamaphobic mailers, gay marriage views

The AG candidate's campaign has pushed back, saying the criticism is a smear attempt by the DFL.

New poll has Doug Wardlow ahead of Keith Ellison in AG race

The Star Tribune/MPR News poll has the Republican up by 7 points.

Star Tribune endorses neither candidate in Minnesota AG race

The newspaper says Doug Wardlow and Keith Ellison are too partisan for the office.

Checking in on the Keith Ellison-Doug Wardlow AG race

First it was Ellison, now Wardlow is coming under increasing scrutiny.

Doug Wardlow committee fined $46K for campaign overspending

The Republican ultimately lost to Democrat Keith Ellison.

Keith Ellison wins contentious Attorney General race

Both candidates had been mired in controversy.

In the wake of his AG primary win, Keith Ellison is facing questions

He strongly denies an allegation of domestic abuse, but it's not going away.

After Ellison backs marijuana legalization, third party candidate backs him

Noah Johnson will try and direct his supporters to vote for Keith Ellison.