A 2001 Ms. Minnesota Contest winner and 2020 Minnesota House candidate is now seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Secretary of State Steve Simon in next year’s election.
South St. Paul resident Kelly Jahner-Byrne announced her candidacy on Monday, joining a hitherto sparse pool of candidates seeking the Minnesota Republican nomination. Phillip Parrish, who first applied in March, has since left the Minnesota GOP after failing to win the party’s presidential election earlier this month. Parrish said he would always run as a Republican.
In a statement announcing his campaign, Jahner-Byrne accused Simon’s “lack of management, oversight and obvious insecurity” of being “one of the lowest voter confidence in Minnesota history.” Simon described the 2020 elections as one of the safest ever and cited the country’s highest turnout as an indicator of high voter confidence.
Jahner-Byrne – who identified herself as an entrepreneur and a philanthropist – also cited the “deadlock in business regulations and business updates” as a source of frustration and a reason to apply for the job. She said she had “serious concerns” about the state’s Safe-At-Home program and added that “computer security in the Secretary of State’s office is simply unreliable.”
Jahner-Byrne lost to Democrat Steve Sandell in the race for the District 53B seat of the Minnesota House of Representatives last year. Its campaign chair is former Minnesota deputy attorney general Julie Finch, and Jill Vujovich-Laabs manages the Jahner-Byrne campaign. Vujovich-Laabs led Secretary of State’s 2014 campaign to Dan Severson, who narrowly lost to Simon in 2014.
Stephen Montemayor • 612-673-1755