ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Attorney General candidate Dennis Smith has dropped his plan to run in the August primary.
Smith, a former legislator, tweeted his decision to drop out Tuesday night, several hours after Doug Wardlow announced that he'll run in the primary after losing the Republican endorsement to business attorney Jim Schultz at the party's convention last weekend.
Smith said he now believes, given the party's endorsement of Schultz, that the GOP can beat Democratic incumbent Attorney General Keith Ellison.
“I am stepping aside and endorsing Jim Schultz for MN Attorney General,” Smith wrote. “Jim has my full support in this race.”
His decision sets up a primary race between Schultz and Wardlow, who was the party’s nominee in 2018. Wardlow is general counsel at MyPillow and an ally of its founder, Mike Lindell, a leading proponent of false accusations that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump.
The executive director of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Mike Lonergan, criticized Wardlow's decision to continue his campaign, saying his public commitment to abide by the party's endorsement was an "empty promise."
Wardlow on Tuesday called both Schultz and Smith “creatures of the swamp" who can't beat Ellison in November.
The filing period opened Tuesday and runs through May 31, so more names could emerge.