If the 2020 Presidential election taught us anything, it was that the Secretary of State is not a down-ticket office, but wields incredible power when it comes to election integrity. However, according to a Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate, the current Minnesota Secretary of State overstepped his authority in changing election rules and laws by bypassing the legislature, using the pandemic as the excuse.
Dr. Scott Jensen, former state senator and GOP candidate for the seat currently held by Gov. Tim Walz (D), said that Secretary of State Steve Simon broke the law with the support of the Minnesota Attorney General and should be held accountable during a speech at a GOP district convention. Jensen had the crowd of delegates and alternates cheering when he suggested that Simon be thrown in jail.
We are not voter suppressors…We have a simple attitude. Make sure that every ballot in the box belongs there. Make sure that it’s easy to vote, hard to cheat, and if you cheat, you’re going to jail…And Steve Simon, you maybe better check out to see if you look good in stripes, because you’ve gotten away with too much, too long, under (Democratic Attorney General Keith) Ellison, and the hammer’s coming down,” Jensen said to applause and cheers.
Jensen points to the Minnesota State Constitution which demands that the legislature be the only body to change election rules and laws. Democrats Tim Walz, Keith Ellison and Steve Simon ignored the State’s Constitution and unilaterally changed how we held our election in 2020. Simon and Ellison took advantage of the Governor’s pandemic emergency powers to push the change in law without seeking a legal or bipartisan solution, Jensen’s campaign website says. Lawsuits filed against Simon have been thrown out with the courts finding that the steps Simon took to make voting safe during the pandemic were legal.
Simon responded by referring to Jensen’s comments as bizarre and irresponsible, tantamount to conspiracy theory used to rev up the conservative base. The truth is that Minnesota’s election system is fundamentally fair, accurate, honest, and secure. It’s also nonpartisan, and we need to keep it that way. The voters of Minnesota showed their confidence in our system by making us No. 1 in America in voter participation for the third time in a row.
Another candidate, state Senator and former Senate majority leader Paul Gazelka, who is neck and neck with Jensen for the GOP nomination which will be decided in Rochester next week seemed to delight in Jensen’s words saying, He’s going to have to swim in his own comments.
Jensen has been critical of not only the state’s questionable misuse of emergency powers during the 2020 election but also of the pandemic mandates and lockdowns. He was one of the first elected leaders to come out against Gov.Walz’ decision to reinstall senior patients who tested positive for COVID-19 into senior living facilities and against the state lockdown of businesses and schools. He was also targeted by the Minnesota Medical Board and threatened to have his medical license revoked for public comments he made about COVID-19.
His critics, such as Minnesota DFL party chair Ken Martin, call Jensen a dangerous right-wing extremist who won’t let go of the Big Lie. Given these comments and recent attacks on Jensen by the DFL and left-leaning media outlets it seems as though they are worried about his growing support among disaffected voters in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.