Democrat Lori Swanson is sticking with her running mate, Congressman Rick Nolan.
In an interview with KARE, the Attorney General said she’s confident Rep. Nolan shares her values when it comes to women in the workplace.
Nolan came under fire Friday, after MinnPost published a story featuring three former female staffers of Nolan’s congressional office, who detailed a pattern of harassment by a longtime Nolan aide.
The women detailed incidents of unwelcome inappropriate physical contact and pattern of suggestive and unnerving verbal interactions with the aide.
The man was dismissed in 2015 after they brought their concerns to Nolan’s chief of staff. But the women told MinnPost the aide was never publicly confronted or outed.
They told MinnPost that man was allowed to portray his departure as a voluntary move. He now works in China.
The women were shocked even more to learn the same person was hired by the Nolan re-election campaign in 2016.
Nolan told KARE the aide in question was working out of his home as a campaign writer, but was dropped after earning just $1,600 when the aggrieved women was raised the issue.
The 8th District Congressman conceded that, in hindsight, it wasn’t a good idea for his campaign committee to hire the ousted congressional staffer.
“There is absolutely no room in any office for sexual harassment!” Nolan told KARE.
“I feel bad about what these women had to endure, and I only wish I had known about it sooner. When we did learn about it, we fired him.”
The progressive group Take Action Minnesota staged a protest at the State Capitol Friday, and called on Nolan to step off of Swanson’s ticket.
Leaders of Take Action, which has endorsed Rep. Erin Murphy in the governor’s race, applauded the courage of the former Nolan staffers for coming forward.
Swanson told KARE she’s convinced Nolan handled the situation the best way he could once he learned about it.
She applauded Nolan for his support of women’s rights, gender pay equity and women’s health throughout his career in both the public and private sectors.
Swanson asserted that, as the first female governor in state history, she could be trusted to uphold the rights of women.
In a public statement issued earlier in the day, Nolan said he apologizes to the three women for the decision to bring the man who harassed them back, even in a limited capacity.
Nolan said the three female staffers all left his office on good terms with him. And they were supportive of him on social media after leaving his staff.
One of the women is now working for the campaign of Congressman Tim Walz, who is running against Swanson in the August DFL primary election.
Another one of female staffers posted a Facebook profile picture that included an Erin Murphy campaign logo.
Rep. Nolan had already decided he wasn’t running for re-election to Congress, when he joined Swanson’s ticket in June.