Republican Joe Fraser will continue running in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar despite having lost the party's endorsement earlier this month to former NBA player Royce White.

"After receiving a number of calls, emails, and text messages from folks across Minnesota encouraging me to continue on, I have made the decision to take my campaign to the August primary," Fraser said in a statement.

Fraser's decision comes after he initially said he would honor the party's endorsement. He cited the turnout at the Republican convention and delegates' decision to back a candidate with a questionable past as what ultimately enticed him to change his mind.

"When I began this race in January as a political outsider, I respected and had every intention of honoring our party's endorsement," he said. "However, when fewer than half of the elected delegates show up to the convention and signal their support for a candidate with a history of questionable conduct and serious charges levied against him, it was no longer a question about the party endorsement, but about the choice we, as a party, are offering Minnesotans who are desperately seeking new leadership."

The political newcomer and former Navy intelligence officer had appeared well positioned to win the GOP nod heading into the convention. He had a campaign apparatus behind him and had done some fundraising. But White swept the convention with 67% of the vote after the first round of ballots, despite reservations expressed by Republican officials about his candidacy from the convention stage.

Heading into the convention, Fraser said he had the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and anticipated that Minnesota's four Republican members of Congress would get behind his campaign afterward. It's unclear now if he will still get their support.

After the convention, NRSC Chair Steve Daines said he does not think White can win in a primary or general election. GOP Reps. Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber told the Star Tribune following the convention that they would be willing to sit down and meet White, though they would not say if they thought Fraser should keep running in the GOP primary.

Following Fraser's announcement, White called on Fraser to abide by the endorsement and criticized what he said was Fraser's position on the war in Ukraine.

"Joe should abide by the endorsement," White said. "I'm fundamentally opposed to Joe Fraser's worldview. Forever wars is a pillar of my platform, not getting involved in forever wars. His name is Mr. 'if we're killing Russians I'm in.'"

White's victory comes on the heels of conservative party activists dominating recent Republican Party conventions and helping their candidates gain support. Grassroots Republicans propelled conservative attorney Tayler Rahm to win the party's backing to run against incumbent Democrat Angie Craig in the Second Congressional District, despite having substantially less money than former federal prosecutor Joe Teirab.

They also blocked GOP Rep. Michelle Fischbach from getting the Republican Party's endorsement after they got behind political newcomer Steve Boyd.

Like Fraser, Teirab and Boyd are now pushing forward in the Republican primary without the party's backing. White's supporters have said the grassroots' endorsements this cycle should send a message to the party that other candidates should respect the endorsed candidates.

"We have a number of opportunities to bring change to our state and country — from flipping the state House and potentially the state Senate, key congressional seats, the Senate, and the White House, we cannot chance it on a decision made without the facts," Fraser continued.