Skip to main content

Jennifer Carnahan out as MN GOP chair, reportedly gets 3 months severance

In a statement, she blamed 'mob mentality' for her ouster.

Jennifer Carnahan is out as the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

During a meeting of MN GOP State Executive Board Thursday evening, Carnahan, who ascended to the position in 2017, confirmed she would be stepping down from her role.

It comes after a week of controversy sparked by the indictment of Anton Lazzaro for child sex trafficking, and subsequently led to a multitude of complaints of harassment and sexual assault within the GOP under Carnahan's watch.

The state executive board were tied in a 7-7 vote to give Carnahan a three month severance package worth $38,000 (Carnahan had initially sought eight months), but party activist Sherri Auclair said Carnahan herself voted in favor to make it an 8-7 vote to approve the severance deal.

Carnahan then confirmed her resignation shortly after the vote, with the amount of severance approved not going down well with some in attendance.

In a statement, Carnahan blamed her ousting on "mob mentality" that she says reflects an effort to "defame, tarnish, and attempt to ruin my personal and professional reputation.

"I am confident a full investigation will uncover the facts and prove my innocence," she continues. "However, I signed up for this party to help us elect Republicans and I want to ensure we can continue to do that.

"At this point, it's in the best interest of the party and my mental health to resign from my position as chairwoman, effective upon the conclusion of tonight's Executive Committee meeting, and step away from the party."

Carnahan also said that she had no involvement or knowledge of Lazzaro's alleged activities, but made no mention of the numerous other complaints of sexual assault and harassment within the party, nor of the victims who came forward."

Pressure has built on Carnahan since the Aug. 12 arrest of Lazzaro, a Republican strategist charged with numerous counts of child sex trafficking and close ally of Carnahan.

The two co-hosted multiple podcasts and were pictured together at a Minnesota Vikings game. Lazzaro was involved in Carnahan's effort to become the party chair, and was a guest at Caranhan and Hagedorn's 2018 wedding. Lazzaro has also donated thousands of dollars to Hagedorn's political campaigns in recent years. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Earlier Thursday, former GOP party executive Andy Aplikowski said Carnahan, last year, told him he "would not approve" of Lazzaro's "lifestyle." Aplikowski also provided accounts that suggest Carnahan was aware of outside interest in Lazzaro weeks before his arrest.

Amid all of this, multiple former staffers have gone public with stories of sexual harassment and misconduct they endured while working for the party during Carnahan's reign – and their subsequent complaints went un-investigated – while former directors describe the "toxic environment" that Carnahan engendered. 

Carnahan denied the claims and characterized the stories as coming from disgruntled individuals.

The events of the last week prompted many local party leaders to call for her resignation.

Carnahan called on the Minnesota GOP executive board to hold a confidence vote in her leadership, promising to "honor and respect their decision."

Carnahan was first elected as chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota in 2017, becoming the first Asian American to hold that position. She was reelected in 2019 and 2021.

Nineteen-year-old Gisela Medina, who briefly served as chair of the Minnesota College Republicans' University of St. Thomas chapter, was charged along with Lazzaro as a co-defendant in the sex trafficking case.

Next Up

Amber alert wisconsin

Amber Alert in Wisconsin: Search for missing 15-year-old girl

Police believe 15-year-old Kryssy King may be with a 22-year-old man.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.

gas

State to help 44 Minnesota gas stations add E15 pumps

The yellow 88 button is coming to more gas stations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.

Press Bar fire

Owner of St. Cloud bar gets 6 years for arson, ordered to repay $3M

A February 2020 fire at the Press Bar and Parlor was later determined to be an insurance job.

IMG_5455

Bloomington, Richfield districts tighten security ahead of weekend football

Enhanced safety measures will be in place this weekend.

Related

Jennifer Carnahan

Jennifer Carnahan speaks out, says she's victim of 'coup' within the GOP

She says that she's victim of "smears" after one of her close confidants, Anton Lazzaro, was indicted for child sex trafficking.

jennifer carnahan

GOP statement on alleged sex harassment sparks new controversy for Carnahan

The statement revealed that Carnahan had been aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct made against a GOP staffer for months.

jennifer carnahan

4 former MN GOP executive directors call on Carnahan to resign

An increasing number of current and former party executives are calling for the embattled chairwoman to step down.

Jennifer Carnahan

More GOP sex harassment allegations emerge, Carnahan says victims are out to get her

The Minnesota GOP chairwoman spoke to two radio stations on Tuesday.

Jim Hagedorn, Jennifer Carnahan, Anton Lazzaro.

Calls for MN GOP chair Jennifer Carnahan to resign over links to Anton Lazzaro

There have been calls from Republicans for Carnahan to resign.

jennifer carnahan

More elected Republicans urging embattled GOP chair Carnahan to resign

It's over her close connection to Anton Lazzaro, who's accused of child sex trafficking.

jennifer carnahan

MN GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan will seek reelection

Carnahan was first elected to the position in 2017.