The chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party has challenged her fellow party leaders to hold a vote of confidence as she faces calls to resign over her handling of sexual harassment allegations against staffers and her close friendship with a GOP strategist facing federal sex trafficking charges.
Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said in the letter Monday that while “some members of the State Executive Committee have called for my resignation,” she noted that they “have not brought up a motion to remove me from my position or taken that vote.”
“In order for us to move forward and be united as a party, I am calling on the State Executive Committee to take that vote of confidence or no confidence in my ability to continue serving as chair at the next State Executive Committee meeting,” she added in the letter, which was also shared with The Hill.
Carnahan also repeated her argument that she had no knowledge of Anton “Tony” Lazzaro’s alleged sex trafficking scheme, adding that her opponents were attempting “to destroy my chairmanship and defame my personal reputation.”
“In doing so, this hurts our party, our candidates, and our strong opportunities to win in 2022,” she added, calling the criticisms against her a “coordinated coup by certain members of the State Executive Committee after I won the chair’s race with nearly 67% of the vote this spring.”
One of the executive committee members who has called for Carnahan to resign, Barb Mura-Sutter, tweeted that Carnahan’s allies have prevented the committee from holding a confidence vote by calling for Sunday’s meeting to be adjourned before the members could take up a motion on the matter.
“Let’s please put things into context, shall we?” she added in a follow-up tweet.
1/3 In a just released email from MN GOP Chair Carnahan:
“Some members of the State Executive Committee have called
for my resignation, yet they have not brought up a motion to
remove me from my position or taken that vote.”
It’s hard to bring up a Motion,
— Barbara Mura-Sutter (@barbsutter49B) August 16, 2021
Let’s please put things into context, shall we?
— Barbara Mura-Sutter (@barbsutter49B) August 17, 2021
Last week, federal authorities arrested Lazzaro and charged him sex trafficking of a minor, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and obstruction of justice.
Authorities have also filed charges against 19-year-old Gisela Castro Medina, who served as the chair of the University of St. Thomas’s chapter of the Minnesota College Republicans, for allegedly aiding Lazzaro in the sex trafficking scheme.
Carnahan said in a statement following Lazarro’s indictment said that if the allegations were true, “this is an abhorrent act that we condemn in the highest possible terms.”
“The Republican Party of Minnesota will be donating the contributions that Mr. Lazzaro has given our organization to charity,” she added. “Sex trafficking is a heinous act that preys on victims of all ages, races, and backgrounds, and warrants severe punishment by our judicial system.”
The chairwoman has also faced calls to resign over speculation about when she first became aware of sexual harassment allegations against two Minnesota GOP staff members who were in Georgia working on the Senate run-off elections.
The Minnesota GOP said in a statement Sunday that the alleged incident occurred in November, and Carnahan “was not made aware of this allegation until April 7, 2021, during her re-election, after the claim had been resolved.”
“No complaint was ever filed or brought forth to the Chairwoman or Republican Party of Minnesota by any staffers in Georgia, including supervisory RNC staff that managed this situation directly at the time,” the statement added.