ROCHESTER, Minn. — As former head of Minnesota's Republican Party, Jennifer Carnahan, weighs her options for her future, her husband, Congressman Jim Hagedorn, took to Facebook on Thursday, Sept. 16, to voice a full-throated defense of his wife.
Hagedorn said his wife fell victim to "cancel culture," a radical left tactic, engineered by a small clique devoted to her undoing. The result was "needless chaos within the party."
"As the dust begins to settle," he said, his wife will be vindicated and shown that the allegations against her were baseless.
"The antagonists offered no proof or factual evidence to back up their claims," Hagedorn, a Republican representing Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, said in the post. "Instead, they littered the public square with innuendo, anonymous stories, absurd guilt by association and other nonsense.
"Then, working as a mob, they brutally forced Jennifer out without one minute of due process," Hagedorn wrote.
Carnahan resigned Aug. 19 after her friend, GOP donor and activist Anton "Tony" Lazzaro, was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges. The news of his arrest triggered a wave of sexual harassment claims within the party and accusations that Carnahan presided over a toxic workplace environment.
In a recent interview, Carnahan said that she is mulling running for her old job or for public office. She also said she has engaged a public relations firm in a bid to repair her image and has taken down her social media accounts to maintain her emotional health.
The husband-and-wife team make one of the more unique, complex political partnerships in Minnesota state politics. Carnahan has been a key adviser in Hagedorn's political career. He singled out her contributions when he won a second term as the representative of the 1st District. Their political fortunes are often entwined. When news broke of Lazzaro's indictment, photos on social media showed Hagedorn, Carnahan and Lazzaro together.
At times sounding like an aggrieved husband, Hagedorn said no Republican officeholder should "ever be treated the way Jennifer was treated."
Hagedorn said Carnahan did an "outstanding job" and "accomplished much" with the help of other Republicans during her 4 1/2 years as GOP chair. Hagedorn cited paying off the party's debt, building up the party's grassroots organizations, and winning back three congressional seats from Democrats — including the 1st, 7th and 8th — and helping keep the Minnesota Senate in GOP hands.
Hagedorn said his wife's mistreatment was conducted by a "small but vocal Clique" in the party, but rank-and-file Republicans are "not happy with the way things went down."
"Republicans must stand for due process, follow the facts and give people a fair chance," Hagedorn said. "We must reject the societal cancer of WOKE political correctness, cancel-culture and judgment imposed by cyber mobsters."