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Controversial Senate candidate Royce White says it's time for Minnesota Republicans to try something new

Royce White on his controversial campaign for U.S. Senate
Royce White on his controversial campaign for U.S. Senate 03:16

MINNEAPOLIS — This election year, one race that has not gotten a lot of attention is the one for the U.S. Senate here in Minnesota.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is running for her fourth term. In Talking Points, Esme Murphy looks at the Republicans' effort to try and beat her.

Klobuchar has won her last two reelection bids in landslides, winning more than 60% of the vote. Well-known pollsters rank her 2024 race as a safe seat for her to win. But that hasn't stopped Republicans from trying. 

Last month, Republicans in a surprise nominated Royce White, a former Gopher and NBA basketball player who still plays in a professional three-on-three league. White has a controversial past, including failure to pay child support, a charge White denies, referring to women as "mouthy" and, at one time, identifying himself as "an antisemite" on social media. 

Then there are questionable campaign expenditures in 2022 when he ran for Congress. The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging White misappropriated $157,000 in campaign contributions, including $1,200 dollars at a strip club and thousands in unexplained wire transfers. 

Despite these factors, Republicans last month overwhelmingly chose White to run against Klobuchar. But White's nomination has gotten major pushback. Three of the last Republicans to win a statewide race in Minnesota — former senators Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman as well as former Gov. Tim Pawlenty — have taken issue with White's candidacy. In an unprecedented break from the party endorsement process, all three have signed a letter endorsing another potential challenger to Klobuchar, Navy veteran Joe Fraser.

White says he can bring new, young voters and voters of color to the Republican party. He was a guest on WCCO Sunday morning.

Royce White talks Republican endorsement, campaign controversies 05:53

"The Norm Coleman, Rudy Boschwitz and Tim Pawlenty style of Republican politics has never really been very successful in those areas and to be honest all three of them lost their last statewide elections and they are connected to over 30 years of statewide losses in the Republican party," White said.

Fraser, who once said he would honor the party endorsement, now says he won't. He will be a guest next Sunday on WCCO Sunday Morning.

White and Frasier will face off soon in the Aug. 13 Republican primary, which historically has had low voter turnout. Klobuchar is sitting comfortably on $5.7 million in her campaign account, while White has $10,000 in his campaign account and Fraser has $43,000.

White denies any campaign funds were misappropriated and said he is in the process of revising those campaign filings.

The Republican endorsement brings with it the full weight of the Minnesota Republican party, including monetary and personnel resources.

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