Minnesota Rep. Jim Knoblach ends re-election bid after allegations by daughter
State Rep. Jim Knoblach, a longtime Republican lawmaker from St. Cloud, dropped his re-election bid on Friday after Minnesota Public Radio News approached him about allegations of molestation by his daughter.
Knoblach, in a statement released to the media, denied the allegations from his daughter Laura.
Her allegations are false, the statement from Knoblauch said. I and other family members have made repeated attempts to reconcile with her in recent years, but she has refused.
The statement continued: I could fight on for another six weeks to defend my reputation while running for re-election. But this would entail subjecting my wife, son, and elderly parents, as well as my daughter, to six weeks of extreme stress and scrutiny. Im also not willing to spend six weeks fighting with my daughter in the media. As a result, I feel I have no choice but to effectively end my campaign today so that I can work toward healing my family.
Laura Knoblach aired the allegation in a Facebook post in late 2016. She told MPR News that that her father inappropriately touched her for most of her life, with her first memories of it starting at the age of 9 years old.
Knoblach is the chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee. He was to face Democrat Dan Wolgamott in November for the St. Cloud-area House seat, which has been a swing district in recent election cycles. It is likely too late for him to get his name off the November ballot.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, acknowledged the resignation in a statement: I want to thank Chair Knoblach for his many years of service to the state of Minnesota. I support his decision to suspend his re-election campaign to focus on his family.
The Star Tribune spoke to Laura Knoblach not long after she posted on Facebook about the abuse; the post was later taken down. At the time, she said an investigation was underway and she declined to speak further about it.
Knoblach also referred to an investigation in his statement. These accusations were fully investigated by Sherburne County, dismissed, and the case closed in April 2017, he said Friday. That could not immediately be confirmed with Sherburne County.
J. Patrick Coolican 651-925-5042