Richard Painter, an Anti-Trump Republican, Launches Senate Bid as a Democrat

  As November starts to loom, Minnesota Republicans and Democrats are each fervently making their final moves to take over the Senate. Minnesota has historically been a predominantly blue state, famously being the only state in the country to vote Democrat in the 1984 presidential election; however, Republicans remain optimistic after President Trump’s performance in the 2016 presidential election, losing to Hillary Clinton by less than only 50,000 votes. While only two Republicans have officially declared their bid, Karin Housley and Bob Anderson, a third Democrat has just declared his bid—Richard Painter.

 Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer under the George W. Bush administration from 2005 to 2007, astounded the nation by placing his Senate ticket as a Democrat. As one of the nation’s most vociferous former Republican critics against President Trump, Painter is running to unseat Senator Tina Smith who was appointed after Senator Al Franken resigned last year.    

 Painter announced, “I am going to seek the nomination of the Democratic Farmer Labor party for this seat. And I am going to fight along Minnesotans and Americans to do what is right to save our democracy from Donald Trump and his collaborators inside the United States and abroad, including every single member of Congress who refused to investigate this administration for what they have done.” 

 Addressing from Minnesota’s State Capitol in St. Paul, Painter remorselessly condemned the current climate of the Republican Party:

 “I will discuss with you briefly my concerns about the current state of the Republican Party in Minnesota and around the United States. We’ve had for decades a departure from fundamental values of the Republican Party and America—a departure from Abraham Lincoln’s commitment to racial justice, a departure from Teddy Roosevelt’s and Richard Nixon’s willingness to protect the environment, a departure from President Eisenhower’s cautionary warning to us when he left office to make sure that we do not allow the military-industrial complex to heat up the federal budget, a departure from a commitment of the right of women to make their own decisions about their reproductive health.”

 Painter also vilified Trump’s rhetoric towards the “fake news” media, immigrants, and people from other faiths, calling it “un-American.” He also clamored for Tina Smith to participate in a series of debates before the election, emphasizing that it will make the party stronger.

 Jennifer Carnahan, the Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman, responded: 

 “Richard Painter’s candidacy appears motivated by a hatred towards President Trump. That’s not the kind of message Minnesotans are looking for – and that’s not the kind of platform that can win in this state.”

 Painter received his B.A., summa cum laude, in history from Harvard University and his J.D. from Yale University. After law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge John T. Noonan Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and then practiced law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City and Finn Dixon & Herling in Stamford, Connecticut. Since 2007, Painter has been the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis.