WCCO's Blois Olson: Knoblach stepping down 'not good' in GOP's attempt for House majority

Knoblauch denies inappropriate touching accusations by estranged daughter

September 22, 2018 - 7:41 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota state Rep. Jim Knoblach has abruptly ended his re-election campaign amid allegations of inappropriate touching from his adult daughter.

Blois Olson, who hosts The Morning Take weekdays on WCCO, said this could hurt the  GOP's chances to maintain control of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the announcement came Friday hours after the St. Cloud Republican's attorney denied the allegations in an interview.

Knoblach's 23-year-old daughter, Laura, tells MPR he inappropriately touched her for most of her life, with her first memories starting when she was 9 years old.

In a written statement, Knoblach called the allegations "indescribably hurtful" and says her claims are false.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, in a statement, praised Knoblach's years of public service and supported his decision to stop campaigning and focus on his family.

"This has already been a competitive seat," said Olson, adding that it's not known if Republicans can put up another candidate or concede the seat in the November election.

"They're fighting to keep the House majority already," Olson said. "The loss of Jim Knoblach is not good this late in the campaign."

Knoblach's decision on Friday came 45 days before the polls open on election day. Early voting started earlier in the day.

"Having Knoblach leave this late means that Democrats can count on one more seat towards the majority that they're hoping to regain," said Olson.

The DFL would wrest control of the Minnesota House by flipping 12 seats in the election.

Democrat Dan Wolgamott, a real estate agent in St.Cloud is running for Knoblach's seat.

Knoblach is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. 

Authorities began an investigation last year but declined to file charges.