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MN GOP to vote on Carnahan ouster

Chair Jennifer Carnahan faces sharp criticism for her close ties to Anton Lazzaro, who faces multiple federal sex trafficking charges.

EDINA, Minn. — The Chair of the Minnesota Republican party, Jennifer Carnahan, will face a vote of no confidence Thursday following calls for her resignation related to the federal sex trafficking case against her associate Anton Lazzaro. 

Carnahan and Lazzaro previously co-hosted a podcast, and were often seen together socially. Carnahan has categorically denied any knowledge of Lazzaro's illegal activities. 

Lazzaro faces 10 federal sex trafficking charges for allegedly recruiting six minor victims to engage in commercial sex acts. 

Court records also show in December – at Lazzaro's downtown Minneapolis condo – the FBI seized his Ferrari, $371,000, 13 cell phones, computers and memory cards. Gisela Castro Medina, a 19-year-old college student from Delano who has been identified as the chair of the University of St. Thomas College Republicans chapter, was also indicted and made her first court appearance on Monday, Aug. 16.

RELATED: 19-year-old woman charged in Anton Lazzaro sex trafficking case

Carnahan said she was unaware that Lazzaro's home was raided in December 2020.

Speaking on WCCO Radio earlier this week, Carnahan continued to deny having any knowledge of Lazzaro's alleged activities. 

"I met Mr. Lazzaro in 2016, I was running for state senate in downtown Minneapolis and I door knocked every high rise in the city, and his was one of the doors I knocked on, he didn’t answer, as a lot of people did they reached out to me after, and he was one of the people that reached out…When I decided to run for chair six months after that he helped my campaign a bit, and then became a major donor to our party shortly thereafter. I did have a political friendship with him…but the concern that I have for us to know the personal background of every contributor, of every person we meet, I think to imply guilt by association is just wrong."

In order to remove Carnahan from her post, a two-thirds majority of the MN GOP must vote for her removal – 10 of the 15 members on the panel. The other option for Carnahan's detractors would be to force a meeting of the party's central committee, which is a group of 300 active Republicans. They would need to gather signatures of 15% of the members, or 45 signatures, to trigger such a meeting. 

Thursday vote with take place in person at the GOP's Edina headquarters. 

RELATED: GOP's Carnahan moves to defend herself