Last-ditch attempt to overturn Minnesota election results ends

A Ramsey County judge dismissed a last-minute challenge to Minnesota's election results Friday afternoon after a hearing that provided no evidence of any election wrongdoing.

Judge Leonardo Castro said he did not have jurisdiction over the four cases brought by Republican voters challenging Democrats' wins in four Twin Cities-area congressional races. He said the GOP challengers also failed properly serve notice to the members of Congress involved.

"Dismissal is not only appropriate. It is required," Castro said in his ruling.

Castro's ruling came hours after a Friday morning hearing during which the judge showed little interest in allowing the case to continue.

The ruling is virtually the end of the line for allies of President Donald Trump who have tried for weeks to overturn Minnesota's election results. Multiple courts have turned back the challenges.

Friday's cases involve congressional races won by incumbent U.S. Reps. Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum. Only Craig's race was close; the other three incumbents won by wide margins in the Nov. 3 election.

Susan Shogren Smith, an attorney for the Republican voters, claimed illegal votes were in the tally so she couldn't say for certain who had won the elections. 

"This is not a joke. We don't think this is funny," she argued in the virtual hearing. "We don’t know what happened in our elections. But what we do know is that the process has kept the voters out."

Abha Khanna, the attorney for the Democratic members of Congress, said it was up to Shogren Smith to provide evidence of fraud. The attorney for the GOP voters was unable to provide any.

Shogren Smith was also seeking to add Minnesota Secretary of State Simon as a defendant in the cases, but an attorney for Simon said he couldn't be added because he wasn't a candidate in any of the elections at issue.

"When you lose a game, you blame the refs. Happens all the time," said Nathan Hartshorn, the attorney representing Simon.

Shogren Smith said she wanted Congress to force Minnesota election officials to preserve evidence related to the 2020 election. It's unclear if the new Congress would be interested in taking that up in 2021.

FOX 9 and Minnesota Public Radio petitioned for and were granted permission by Castro to record the hearing.