JTA – In a promotional video for her campaign, a Republican candidate for Minnesota’s secretary of state depicted the Jewish Democratic incumbent and another Jewish elections lawyer as being controlled by puppet strings held by Jewish philanthropist George Soros.
The Anti-Defamation League has called the frequent use of puppet-master imagery by conservatives to depict Soros antisemitic.
Kim Crockett’s campaign played the video at the state’s GOP convention last weekend, where Crockett, a former executive at a conservative think tank, also received her party’s endorsement. The video’s messaging played into popular right-wing conspiracy theories claiming that the 2020 election was fraudulent and that have collectively fueled several secretary of state races in purple states. Republicans have endorsed candidates who vow to implement tighter voting restrictions.
The video, which convention attendees posted to social media, depicts the state’s current secretary of state, Steve Simon, and prominent national Democratic elections attorney Marc Elias. Both are Jewish. Their heads are superimposed on the bodies of the twins from the movie “The Shining,” with a caption reading, “Let’s wreck elections forever and ever.” Simon and Elias are then shown to be attached to puppet strings controlled by Soros.
A Holocaust survivor and prominent donor to liberal and left-wing causes who gave more than $125 million to a Democratic super PAC in 2020, Soros is routinely vilified by right-wing conspiracy theories depicting him as secretly controlling various aspects of society.
Elias, a former lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, has led various Democratic legal challenges to new Republican-led voting restrictions in closely watched swing states like Georgia and Wisconsin, making him a frequent target of right-wing election conspiracy campaigns. Soros has donated millions to his efforts to challenge state election laws that Elias says lead to the disenfranchisement of poor people and people of color. Elias is currently testifying in a federal case against top Democratic lawyer Michael Sussman, who is accused of lying to the FBI during the 2016 campaign.
Crockett’s campaign website also includes multiple negative references to Mark Zuckerberg, the Jewish founder of Facebook. Zuckerberg also provoked conservative ire after he donated nearly half a billion dollars to election offices around the country in 2020 (a donation that he says was a one-time event).
Minnesota voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election by 7 percentage points. The state’s Supreme Court rejected a Republican challenge to those results.
The state’s Republican primary will be held August 9. With her party’s formal endorsement, Crockett is expected to win and take on Simon in the general election.