Minnesota GOP sends 'cease and desist' letter to ousted Clay Co. party chair
The newly elected Republican chair told potential delegates to the organization's convention in Moorhead this Saturday that security would be in place.
MOORHEAD — Clay County Republicans will hold their annual convention this weekend in Moorhead with a newly elected chairperson and the possibility of more fireworks than usual.
Chair Rodney Johnson said Edwin Hahn continues to represent himself as chair despite being ousted from the position by the organization’s board of directors earlier this month.
The Minnesota Republican Party has since confirmed Hahn’s removal and recognized Johnson’s election.
In a March 17 letter to Hahn obtained by The Forum, the GOP also gave Hahn an immediate “cease and desist” notice, demanding he stop representing himself as chair or face legal action.
The letter said Hahn has tried to conduct party business with Clay County Republicans letterhead and may have tried to access its electronic, financial and other accounts since his removal.
Hahn is running for Minnesota Senate District 4 covering portions of Becker, Clay, and Norman counties. The seat is currently held by DFLer Sen. Kent Eken.
Johnson expects Hahn and some of his delegate supporters to turn out for the convention, which will be held Saturday, March 26 at the Moorhead National Guard Armory.
Only precinct-elected delegates and alternates and approved guests are allowed in the convention hall, he said.
On Wednesday, Johnson sent an email to approximately 2,000 Clay County Republicans, confirming Hahn’s removal and setting the stage for the weekend event.
He said security would be in place at the Armory “to ensure a peaceful, productive convention.”
In a Thursday post to his campaign page, Hahn encouraged others to come to the convention to “speak truth to the swamp.”
Phone and email messages for Hahn were not returned.
Hahn was removed as chair of the organization on March 8, due to what the executive board said were “numerous ethical violations” and “conduct unbecoming” of an officer of Clay County Republicans.
At the time, the board did not go into detail about those accusations.
When asked Thursday, Johnson listed several issues as part of Hahn's removal notice, including: harassment of delegates, bullying and intimidation, putting personal beliefs over party platform and adding board members’ names without their permission to a lawsuit he filed in late 2020, contesting his loss that year in the race for Minnesota House District 4A.
The lawsuit was later dismissed with prejudice.
The removal notice also stated Hahn, who is also a candidate this election cycle, uses a presumptive email related to the seat for which he's running, SenatorHahn@gmail.com, intentionally "misleading voters and delegates."
Hahn also attended local school board meetings, protesting mask mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson said he advised Hahn to step back from those protests.
“When you disagree with Edwin, he will make your life miserable,” Johnson said.
Johnson said Hahn thinks he is still in charge of Clay County Republicans because he summoned his own supporters the evening of March 8 and single-handedly appointed seven additional directors, claiming a total of 15 directors instead of eight.
Johnson said Hahn claimed that meant a quorum wasn’t present that night, making the vote to remove him illegal.