ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The embattled chair of the Minnesota Republican Party has asked other state party leaders to hold a vote of confidence on her continued leadership. In a letter sent Monday to party activists, Jennifer Carnahan said she wants the vote held soon.
The letter comes amid an uproar over the indictment of a major GOP donor and a college Republican chapter leader on sex-trafficking charges. Minnesota Public Radio reports that a meeting set for Thursday could include discussions about the fallout from the indictment of donor Anton Lazzaro and the St. Thomas College Republican chair. Carnahan and her husband, U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, are close friends with Lazzaro.
More Republican lawmakers are coming forward and asking GOP Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan to step down due to her ties to Anton Lazzaro, a GOP donor who is charged with federal sex trafficking charges, on Monday.
State Senator Carla Nelson is the most recent Republican lawmaker requesting Carnahan to step down, citing the need for transparency and accountability within the party.
Lazzaro was a well-known Minnesota GOP donor, who made his single largest donation to Representative Jim Hagedorn for $21,000.
Hagedorn is Carnahan's husband.
Lazzaro also donated $41,000 to the Minnesota GOP.
Lazzaro has been charged with five counts of sex trafficking minors, one count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor and three counts of obstruction.
Nelson said it would be in Carnahan's best interest to step down.
"At some point, you can not be a leader when you do not have followers or when your leadership is in question. So, I just think it would be wise for her to step down voluntarily and let the full investigation continue," Nelson said.
Also arrested in connection to the sex trafficking ring is Gisela Castro Medina, 19, of St. Paul.
Medina was arrested in Florida and is accused of participating in the sex trafficking ring with Lazzaro while she was the President of the College Republicans at St. Thomas University.
Carnahan has pushed back to calls for her to step down but has already removed herself from the board of the Twin Cities-based Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.