Some major breaking news regarding one of the leading Minnesota Republican lawmakers on Friday, with Rep. Jim Knoblach announcing he's abandoning his re-election campaign.
The shock announcement came as MPR News prepared to publish a story that detailed accusations of inappropriate touching against Knoblach made by his adult daughter, who says she experienced it since a young age.
In a statement on his campaign page, Knoblach said his daughter, who has been "estranged from our family for some time," had made "hurtful and untrue accusations on a Facebook post."
"These accusations were fully investigated by Sherburne County, dismissed, and the case closed in April 2017," he said.
According to MPR's story, Knoblach's daughter was told by police that her father's behavior didn't meet any of the five degrees of criminal sexual conduct under state law.
Knoblach is one of the top GOP representatives in the Minnesota House, chairing the House Ways and Means Committee.
The 60-year-old was seeking another term in his St. Cloud-area seat, which was already a target for Democrats and is now favored to turn blue.
He took the decision to abandon his campaign so as not to put his family through six weeks of "fighting with my daughter in the media."
Here's his full statement.
Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, announced today he is immediately ending his re-election campaign for the Minnesota House of Representatives due to issues concerning his daughter, and provided the statement below:
“Our daughter has been estranged from our family for some time. In late 2016 she made some extremely hurtful and untrue accusations on a Facebook post, which was briefly put up and then taken down. These accusations were fully investigated by Sherburne County, dismissed, and the case closed in April 2017.
“I appreciate my wife, my son, our parents and the rest of my family standing with me in the face of these accusations. Last week I learned my daughter had contacted Minnesota Public Radio seven months ago, and that MPR was preparing a story on her allegations. I love my children more than anything, and would never do anything to hurt them. Her allegations are false. I and other family members have made repeated attempts to reconcile with her in recent years, but she has refused.
“I could fight on for another six weeks to defend my reputation while running for re-election. But this would entail subjecting my wife, son, and elderly parents, as well as my daughter, to six weeks of extreme stress and scrutiny. I’m also not willing to spend six weeks fighting with my daughter in the media. As a result, I feel I have no choice but to effectively end my campaign today so that I can work towards healing my family.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to represent my hometown in the Legislature. I want to thank my many supporters for their years of support. I have done the best I can to represent my district in Saint Paul, and will continue to contribute in other ways. I will now complete the term voters elected me to serve and help constituents who contact me every day.
“As indescribably hurtful as these circumstances are, my wife and I love our daughter, and we look forward to the day when we can somehow again be a happy family.”