Minnesota GOP party Chair Jennifer Carnahan will seek reelection, she announced Thursday.
Carnahan, who was an unlikely winner as the party chair in the 2017 election, will face an opponent in the form of State Sen. Mark Koran, arguing the party needs "new direction and overhaul."
In her announcement, Carnahan lists among her accomplishments helping the GOP flip three U.S. House seats in the past two elections – the 1st, 7th, and 8th Districts.
But the GOP continues its run of failing to win a statewide election, with Gov. Tim Walz beating Jeff Johnson in 2018, Attorney General Keith Ellison defeating Doug Wardlow in the same year, Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith retaining their seats on the U.S. Senate, and Joe Biden increasing the Democrats' margin over Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
“When I first ran for the MN GOP Chair position in 2017, I walked into an organization plagued with debt and division. Since then, we've paid off our legacy debt, expanded our organization to become more inclusive and invested in our grassroots," Carnahan said in a statement.
"Our party is stronger than we were four years ago and I'm running again because I believe it's important to build on the successes we've achieved, keep stable leadership in place and ensure our party remains on the right track as we head into the 2022 elections.”
Carnahan - who is married to 1st District Rep. Jim Hagedorn – was a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump during the 2020 election cycle. She campaigned in key states including Michigan, Florida and Nevada as a board member for the Asian Pacific Americans for Trump. She also supported two House races in California, which flipped from Democratic to Republican control.
But she has come under increased scrutiny since the Nov. 3 election by contributing to the falsehood that the election was fraudulent, posting a vague tweet about there being "extreme data abnormalities" about Minnesota's vote that was not backed up by any evidence.
She had also previously suggested she would back MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for a gubernatorial run in Minnesota, a pledge of apparent support that convinced Koran to run against her.
Nonetheless Carnahan retains backing from many Minnesota Republicans, with 5th Congressional District Chair Paul Anderson saying: "For our party to continue to grow and widen our tent, it's important to have voices and faces like Chairwoman Carnahan's out front and center."
Carnahan was also one of the Minnesota GOP leaders to join an effort to overturn the 2020 election results following Trump’s defeat. Carnahan made unfounded claims of data abnormalities in the election results, drawing criticism from officials including Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.
But after a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, in which a mob of rioters attempted to stop the certification of election results, Carnahan condemned the attacks and called for a peaceful transition of power.