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'Hundreds ... Literally Begging Me To Run Again': WCCO Goes 1-On-1 With Ousted GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The ousted head of the Minnesota Republican Party says she may run to get her old job back. Jennifer Carnahan was forced to resign as party chair over her ties to accused child sex trafficker Tony Lazzaro.

Carnahan was also forced out over complaints about her promoting a "toxic work environment" that allowed sexual harassment to flourish. WCCO's Esme Murphy spoke one-on-one with Carnahan Thursday about her plans moving forward.

"There are hundreds of people from across the state asking me, literally calling and begging me to run again, saying, 'You're the only one who can carry us forward,'" Carnahan told Murphy.

Carnahan blames a handful of party insiders for her ouster. Public calls for her resignation came in August with the child sex trafficking charges against Republican insider Lazzaro, a friend of hers. Asked whether she knew about the alleged trafficking, she said she did not.

"Absolutely not, and I think for people to make those statements is just wrong," she said.

Jennifer Carnahan Interview
(credit: CBS)

Her husband, Rep. Jim Hagedorn, has Stage IV kidney cancer. A recorded phone call of Carnahan casually referring to his death has been widely shared on social media, in which she says: "I don't care. Jim's gonna be ... he's gonna die of cancer in two years. So be it."

"It's very unfortunate," Carnahan told Murphy. "I've apologized to Jim. I feel bad about it."

Four former party executive directors accused her of creating a "toxic work environment" where there was "sexual harassment" and she was often heard "yelling." She denies it all, and said she believes she's a victim.

"I do, I really do. But I am not going to allow myself to be a victim," she said.

Despite widespread rumors, she says she does not expect her name to be on the ballot in Minnesota in 2022.

The deadline to enter the race for Republican Party chair is Friday at midnight.

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