The Minnesota GOP's only candidate so far for secretary of state is no longer running as a Republican.
Phillip Parrish, a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer from Kenyon, Minn., on Monday resigned from state and local Republican Party affiliation in a letter to Goodhue County GOP leadership, days after coming up short in his bid to become the new state party chair.
Parrish lost to former Senate minority leader David Hann in Saturday's election to replace Jennifer Carnahan, who resigned amid controversy in August. On Monday, Parrish insisted that his decision to leave the party was not tied to Hann's victory but rather a decision that "has been coming for several months."
"I leave the MNGOP battlefield knowing I did everything humanly possible to help," Parrish wrote in a letter to Goodhue County BPOU Chair Ernie Stone. "The 236 members out of 335 voting members of the governing body chose to continue the MNGOP organization as it stands."
Parrish wrote that he has been with the Republican Party for 41 years. He previously mounted unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate in 2014 and for governor in 2018. Parrish alleged that he witnessed "a level of dishonesty and political gamesmanship that was more than typical" in the past week, without providing specifics.
"The level of dysfunction, inefficient use of financial resources, and unethical behaviors are more than politics as usual," Parrish wrote, adding that "it is unethical and inappropriate" to pursue his candidacy to challenge Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon as a Republican.
The dearth of Republican challengers for Simon — a frequent target of GOP criticism over election policy — to have emerged thus far has alarmed some party operatives and activists. Simon comfortably won his previous races for the office in both 2014 and 2018. Republicans have not won a statewide race in Minnesota for more than a decade.
Parrish, in a recent interview, said he does not believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected president. His public social media pages includes repeated claims of sweeping voter fraud, COVID-19 conspiracy theories and a prediction that "mass civil war will break out before 2022."