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Minnesota’s GOP nominee for top elections official called changing voting rules ‘our 9/11’ after ‘the big rig’ in 2020


By Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, CNN

The Republican nominee to be the top elections official in Minnesota said changing the rules around voting following the 2020 “big rig” was “our 9/11,” invoking the terrorist attacks when discussing proposed changes to election laws in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump’s loss.

Kim Crockett is one of the latest candidates to win the GOP nomination for a secretary of state position who has cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 election, which she has previously described as “lawless” and “rigged.”

“We realize people are discouraged and this is still an exceptional nation,” Crockett said during a previously unreported radio appearance in early September 2021. “We are still the American people and I’m betting on us. This is a challenge. Maybe we needed a wake-up call. This is our 9/11.”

In the interview, Crockett was criticizing voting reform legislation. She called the ultimately unsuccessful John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act “a massive threat,” to Republicans, who had passed stricter voting laws at the state level in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

The bill sought to restore the power of the federal government to oversee state voting laws to prevent discrimination against minority voters.

“They’re resurrecting a really vicious, powerful architecture in Washington, DC, to take over our election laws,” Crockett said. “And that’s the avenue to their permanent power, because they really don’t think we’re capable of governing ourselves at the local level is state level and they wanna be in charge. And they wanna be in charge permanently.”

Crockett, an attorney and conservative activist, was appearing on a local Christian talk radio program to promote an upcoming event that month that she said would be discussing “the big rig” 2020 election, citing her efforts the past year-and-a-half opposing Democrat-led changes to election laws.

“I’ve been doing it now for about 18 months, exclusively in the election space,” Crockett said earlier in the radio appearance. “Because if we lose our right to free and fair elections — and I don’t just need the right to vote, I need to know that it’s being counted fairly and that someone’s not cheating and canceling me out.”

At an event from mid-September 2021, Crockett encouraged activists to sign up as election judges and poll watchers so they can exercise their “biblical citizenship,” an idea gaining traction in Christian nationalist circles which encourages Christians to accept that America was founded on Christian values and influence their government to adopt a “biblical worldview.”

In a statement provided to CNN’s KFile by campaign chairwoman Shannon Bruce, Crockett defended calling the election rigged and attacked the press. The campaign declined in the statement and a subsequent phone call to address any other quotes.

“There are so many important policy issues we should be discussing right now so that Minnesotans can make an informed choice when they vote,” Crockett said in the statement. “Instead, most of the media is intent on character assassination.”

A Republican has not won statewide in Minnesota since 2006, but the state has become more competitive for the GOP in recent years. Crockett is facing incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon in the general election this year.

Unlike other secretary of state nominees who have cast doubt on the 2020 election, Crockett has not been endorsed by Trump. But Crockett has a history of comments undermining the integrity of the 2020 election following Joe Biden’s presidential victory, a CNN KFile review of her past media appearances found.

She has called Democrats “cheats,” and said the election was ripe with everything from “garden variety fraud,” to the “possibility” of “tabulators connected to the Internet” changing votes to Democrats. She falsely said the 2020 election in Minnesota was illegitimate and has argued that voting by mail is insecure. She said she does not believe the US Postal Service should be able to deliver ballots because a major postal union supports Democrats. Louis DeJoy, the current Postmaster General who heads the Postal Service, was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

“If we don’t win this one and expose what happened — every cell in my body militates against the idea that America has become a place to cheat like this,” Crockett said on local Minnesota conservative talk radio in December 2020. “I think the evidence is overwhelming, and if we don’t fight and win some ground here, Republicans and conservatives, for example, in Minnesota will never win another statewide election, and the long-term possibility for Republicans to be able to win in other states and nationally gets narrower and narrower.”

“If there’s this much corruption, and the vote can be manipulated,” she added. “And there’s garden variety fraud going on all the way up to the possibility that these voting tabulators connected to the internet are manipulating the vote.”

There is no evidence absentee and mail-in balloting are insecure nor is there evidence electronic voting is insecure.

At the same time, Crockett stated that Biden isn’t progressive enough for the left wing of the Democratic Party.

“They’re just gonna put a pillow over his face when they get tired of him,” she said during a December 2020 radio appearance. “They’ll put a pillow over Biden’s face, ‘Oh, go quietly, Joe.'”

Crocket previously volunteered at the Minnesota Voters Alliance, a nonprofit group that has attempted to curtail how absentee voting works in the state. She is also a self-described active member of the Election Integrity Network, a nationwide group that trains conservative activists to aggressively monitor elections as part of the group’s “army of citizens.” The group is run by Cleta Mitchell, a key figure in the failed efforts to overthrow the 2020 election.

Crockett has already stirred controversy both in the Minnesota secretary of state race — which will determine who will oversee the 2024 general election — and in recent years.

The Minnesota Republican Party apologized last year after a video promoting her campaign featured billionaire Jewish Democratic donor George Soros, a frequent target of antisemitic conspiracies, as a puppet master controlling two Jewish Democrats. The Minnesota GOP said that Crockett and her staff were not aware of the antisemitic tropes.

In 2019, Crockett was placed on 30 days of unpaid leave from her position as the vice president and general counsel of the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank, following an uproar over comments she made about Somali immigrants in Minnesota.

“These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible,” she was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

Crockett apologized for the comments.

CNN’s Sam Woodward contributed to this story.

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