Kim Crockett—Another GOP “Election Denier” Wins Her Primary for Secretary of State August 14, 2022
Oh those “poor” political pundits (NOT)! Right now, many of them are ripping up their usual process stories about Biden and his Democrats being in never-ending disarray and giving them a second look (See Stokols, latimes.com, 8/10/22, cnn.com, Harwood, 8/14/22, Dovere, cnn.com, 8/14/22). The prior “Democrats are doomed” accounts now look irrelevant and outdated. In the past few weeks, Biden successfully conducted a military operation that killed Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda heir Ayman al-Zawaahiri in Afghanistan (csis.org., 8/04/02.) . Biden’s 7/31/2022 raid showed, as he promised, that he can defend American interests in that volatile area without having a buildup of ground troops. Many analysts who groaned that Biden’s exit from Afghanistan was not “graceful,” and, therefore, a “failure,” are rightly rethinking their previous views. Biden was also deemed by many in this “pundit class” as a terrible “ failure” because his strong domestic legislation had been stalled since 12/2021 by the likes of conservative Senate Democrat Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and “mavericky” Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Never mind that both FDR and LBJ would have had trouble passing much legislation through Congress with just a 5- point Democratic House margin and a 50-50 Senate. Even with that most precarious of political margins, Biden has successfully passed a COVID relief bill and a major infrastructure bill while keeping Manchin and the liberal House Democrats on board. He additionally passed a key gun control bill, the first one in decades (cnn.com, Dovere). And, to the surprise of just about everyone, in the last few weeks, Sen. Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made a deal to pass a landmark climate change and health care bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. Although Biden stayed out of the nitty gritty negotiating that led to this deal, remember, Schumer was pushing Biden’s agenda or carrying his Chief Executive’s political water. Without Biden, this legislation never would have succeeded (See Dovere). In the end, Biden gets the credit, no matter how this bill landed in the political “end zone.” In addition, Biden persuaded Congress to pass a broad bill to aid semiconductor research, the CHIPS and Science Act, that will make us less dependent on China and other Asian nations. Biden signed the PACT act which provides healthcare benefits to veterans injured by wartime exposure to toxic chemicals. The GOP initially went against this veterans’ bill until Biden, his fellow Dems, and entertainer Jon Stewart shamed “Team Red” as “cruel” to our armed service members (See latimes.com Stokols, 8/10/22).
The Manchin-Schumer $370 billion plus landmark act, the Inflation Reduction Act, passed the Senate with no GOP votes and with the assist of VP Harris as the tie-breaker (cnn.colm, Collinson, 8/08/22). It passed the House on 8/12/2022 by a complete party line vote, 220-207. All Democrats voted “Yea,” all GOPers went “Nay,” with the exception of 4 “Team Red” members who did not vote. President Biden will soon sign this monumental bill (See C-SPAN). Before the crucial 11/2022 midterm elections, Democrats have , therefore, shown they are the “adults in the room.” They can pass major legislation, not just bicker or yell “NO” to everything like the GOP does. If the Democrats can keep the House and Senate after the 11/2022 midterms,, they can claim that the GOP gave them a crucial assist in those victories. How? “Team Red” has picked some of the worst Senate nominees seen in years, (Dr. Oz, Herschel Walker, Blake Masters, JD Vance), extremist House members, and, additionally, many zany gubernatorial and state candidates. In my most recent blogpost, I discussed one such GOP nominee, Arizona Secretary of State (SOS) Mark Finchem. Finchem, like Demagogue Donald, keeps screaming that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” and that Joe Biden illegally sits in the Oval Office. The Secretary of State (SOS), as I also noted, is supposed to conduct state and national elections in a smooth and non-partisan manner, not turn these contests into partisan weapons.
Finchem, as I previously noted, is no GOP outlier among their 2022 nominees for Secretary of State (SOS). In addition to Finchem, Nevada’s Jim Marbant and Michigan’s Kristina Karamo are strong “election denying” candidate for “Team Red.” Now, the GOP has a fourth SOS nominee who holds “election denial” beliefs. Meet Minnesota’s GOP nominee for SOS, Kim Crockett. On 8/09/2022, with more than 95% of the votes counted, Crockett clobbered her rival Erik van Mechelen by 26.4 points (nytimes.com, 8/10/22). She will face Democratic incumbent SOS Steve Simon who is running for a third term in the 11/2022 general election (huffpost.com, Waldron, 8/09/22).
Kim Crockett was born and raised in MN with roots in in the Twin Cities and Greater MN. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Crockett practiced law in the Gopher State. From the get-go, she was one hard right-winger. Crockett was a policy advocate and writer for MN institutions like the Center of the American Experiment, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA), and worked with Ned Ryun’s American Majority. Crockett was a legal policy advisor for the MVA and VP and general counsel for the Charlemagne Institute (Lopez, R., minnesotareformer.com). All of these groups are hard core right and emphasize “defending Western Civilization” and pushing for “voting rights election policy.” Translation: fighting for white Christian exclusionary values and keeping many Democratic voters, especially people of color, from voting. The Charlemagne Institute published the “Chronicles” magazine. That magazine helped far-right extremist Patrick Buchanan in his 1992 and 1996 presidential runs. Buchanan, remember, was denounced by National Review magazine founder and conservative icon William Buckley as anti-Semitic (See Williamson, 5/19, Blumenthal, 5/25/11). Although Donald did not specifically endorse Crockett, she has been proudly affiliated with the “Election Integrity Network.” That group (EIN) was formed by the Conservative Partnership Institute, a right- wing think tank. That outfit works on elections and is led by GOP attorney Cleta Mitchell. Mitchell sought to help Trump overturn his electoral loss in Georgia , and is a key figure in the House committee investigating the 1/06/21 insurrection (huffpost.com, 8/09/22, Waldron, minnesotareformer.com, Winter, 6/23/22). Crockett has known Mitchell for “quite some time (minnesotareformer.com, Winter).” Since 2019, Crockett has shifted her efforts toward “election policy.” “Fellow Trump traveler” Crockett is part of a national right-wing GOP network recruiting an army of activists to become poll watchers whom Democrats rightly fear will intimidate voters. This gang will also use its power in SOS’s offices to turn those posts into additional GOP fronts (See minnesotareformer.com, Winter, 6/23/22).
Crockett has called the 2020 election a “train wreck.” She has accused state election officials of using the COVID-19 pandemic as “cover to change how we vote, and also how the vote is counted (latimes.com, Cassidy & Richmond, 8/07/22).” She campaigns with “election deniers” who argue that Trump’s victory was “stolen( (latimes.com).” One of Crockett’s comments has even been too much for her conservative allies. In 2019, Crockett was placed on an unpaid 30-day disciplinary suspension from the Center of the American Experiment. At that time, Crockett made disparaging comments about Somali-Americans settling in St. Cloud, MN . According to a Star Tribune article, Crockett stated, “ These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible (startribune.com).”
Crockett called the 2020 election “rigged,” and agreed with GOP state Rep. Jeremy Munson that the election was “illegitimate.” She added that MN should “return to in-person voting and roll back the chaotic, insecure absentee balloting system.” She implied that electronic voting machines were used to steal the election from Donald, a right conspiracy line (huffpost.com, Waldron, 8/09/22). In a 2020 radio interview, she questioned whether people with disabilities and non-English speakers “should be allowed to vote.” She insinuated that laws allowing such voters to seek assistance would “lead to fraud (huffpost.com,Waldron, 8/09/22).”
Crockett has also entangled herself with another malignancy--anti-Semitism. Why be surprised? At the MN state GOP convention in 5/2022, where she was endorsed by the delegates, Crockett showed a video depicting investor and Holocaust survivor George Soros as a puppet master. Soros was pulling the strings of current Dem. SOS Steve Simon as well as prominent election lawyer Mark Elias. The video caption said, “Let’s wreck elections forever and ever and ever.” Soros, Simon, and Elias are all Jewish. The GOP state chair apologized for that remark. He claimed that Crockett did not intend for it to be anti-Semitic. Crockett made no such apology. One day after the GOP chair’s apology, she sent out a fundraising letter titled, “Media smears and communist tears.” Crockett claimed she was the victim of “contrived and bogus political attacks (latimes.com, Cassidy & Richmond, 8/07/22).” IMHO, if Crockett did not know that the Soros puppet master smear was a common anti-Semitic theme, she is politically naïve and not fit to run for office. Of course, if she did know what that Soros puppet master video meant, she is trafficking in an anti-Semitic canard of the worst sort and employing it to bring out those “fine” bigots in her base. Such behavior would tar her with anti-Semitism and she should not run at all. Of course, Crockett could care less, so the voters in MN must repudiate her “big time.”
Crockett’s opponent in 11/2022, Democrat Steve Simon, is, as previously noted, running for a third term as SOS. He grew up in Minneapolis suburbs St. Louis Park and Hopkins. He received a 1992 undergraduate degree from MA’s Tufts University and a 1996 law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. He worked in private practice for several years and served as Assistant Attorney General of MN. Before winning office as SOS, Simon served ten years in MN’s House of Representatives where he represented St. Louis Park and Hopkins. As opposed to GOPer Crockett, Simon took on true election reform that benefited all Minnesotans. In the state legislature, Simon spent a good deal of his time dealing with election issues. He served as chair of the MN House Elections Committee in 2013 and 2014. He played a key role in instituting many of MN’s recent election reforms. These included no-excuse absentee voting and online voter registration. He was instrumental in getting easier access to voting for Minnesotans living overseas, including those serving in the military (sos.state.mn.-steve simon). As SOS, his goals are to expand voting access and remove voting barriers. He wants to streamline business services and strengthen protections for domestic violence victims. He administers a “Safe at Home” address for people whose personal safety is at risk, because of physical abuse or threats. Unlike GOP opponent Crockett, Simon aims to be SOS for all Gopher State residents, not just a far-right Trumpist base. In an inaugural address, Simon promised to “work with anyone, of any political affiliation, from any part of our state” to protect, defend, and strengthen voting rights.” In his SOS post, Simon partners with townships, cities, and county officials to organize a fair election system for MN’s four million voters (sos.state,mn.-steve simon).
Currently, MN Democrats hold every major statewide office and have not lost a presidential election since 1972. However, in 2016, Hillary beat Donald in the Gopher State by less than a two-point margin. Rural counties in MN, as elsewhere, have trended GOP. Thirty- three MN counties that voted for Obama in either 2008 or 2012 flipped to Trump in 2016. In 2020, Biden won back just four of those. However, the heavily -populated multicultural Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties respectively, have moved strongly toward “Team Blue.” Despite media and Trump talk about GOPers highly contesting MN in 2020, Biden handily carried this state by 7 points, 52%-45% (Cohen & Cook 2022 Political Almanac). Simon remains favored to win re-election to his SOS seat in the 11/2022 midterms. However, because midterm elections often go against the party holding the White House, MN Democrats are not taking anything for granted in the Simon-Crockett race. The GOP’s successful nomination of Crockett in this normally “Blue” state gives “Team Red” another chance to flip a major office that could bolster its national efforts to undermine future elections and suppress voting rights (See huffpost.com, Waldron, 8/0922). SOS Simon aptly declared, “Crockett’s positions on voting rights and elections are extreme, increasingly bizarre and sometimes dangerous. We don’t want anyone who thinks like that to be anywhere near the control and supervision of our election system (huffpost.com, Waldron, 8/09/22).” Minnesota Democrats, as well as those in other states with “election deniers” on their ballots, must vote in droves plus in 11/2022. These GOPers must be kept away from SOS offices. Our democracy depends upon it.