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Ousted MN GOP chair mulls return to politics, possible run for governor

Jennifer Carnahan resigned over an associate's sex trafficking indictment.

Less than a month after her ouster as head of the Minnesota Republican Party, Jennifer Carnahan is vowing a return to the political arena. 

Carnahan, who resigned as party chair last month due to the Anton Lazarro scandal, released a statement on Facebook Sunday addressing her future:

She says she's received an "outpouring of support" following her fall as MN GOP chair, proclaiming that "the very small group in our party intent on getting me out failed yet again."

"This small group didn't push me out of the party, take my job away from me, nor change people's perceptions of me (because people believe in truth and what happened was not truthful)." 

As a result, she's received "thousands of calls for action to take my leadership in Minnesota to the next level" — including "running again for Chair (of MN GOP) on October 2nd to running for Governor and other ideas in between," Carnahan writes.

The post was shared on Twitter by former Republican strategist and one-time deputy chair of MN GOP Michael Brodkorb.

It comes less than a month after Carnahan's exit from party leadership, which at the time she attributed to a "mob mentality" that she said reflected 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 said in a statement accompanying her resignation, which came during a meeting of the state party's executive board.

The body voted narrowly to award Carnahan a three-month severance of $38,000, though she had initially sought eight months' severance. 

Carnahan, who is married to Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R), came under pressure to resign after the Aug. 12 arrest of Lazzaro, a Republican strategist and close political ally of Carnahan's who was charged with numerous counts of child sex trafficking.

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.

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

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

She assumed leadership of the party in 2017. 

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