Mike Lindell of Minnesota rides the MyPillow empire on the fringes of US politics
Those who knew Lindell before he rose to fame, first in widespread commercials like “the MyPillow guy,” and more recently as a far-right conservative voice in national politics, describe a man who was selfless. to help others and who had more hope than just comfortable bedding.
But outspoken Lindell, chairman of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign for Minnesota, has spoken less and less about the role Trump allegedly encouraged him to pursue: Governor of Minnesota.
Candidates for governor have from May 17, 2022 to May 31, 2022 to run for office, meaning Lindell, who has never held an elected office before, still has plenty of time to participate in the race. .
(Lindell did not respond to repeated interview requests for this story.)
Cardboard cutouts of Mike Lindell are on view throughout MyPillow’s manufacturing facility in Shakopee, Minnesota on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 (Glen Stubbe / Minneapolis Star Tribune / TNS)
At one point, however, Lindell was really thinking about a race in 2022, according to Bob Roepke, mayor of Chaska, Minnesota, from 1984 to 2002. MyPillow has been headquartered in Chaska since the company was founded in 2009. Roepke served on the board. MyPillow board of directors until January of this year when he resigned due to what he said were disagreements with Lindell and personal health concerns.
“I think his consideration on this was pretty serious. Where it is now, or what it is now, I’m not sure, ”Roepke said in an interview in July.
Among the disagreements between the two was the validity of the 2020 presidential election, which Roepke said he did not believe was fraudulent.
Lindell, however, was outspoken in his belief in widespread fraud in the 2020 election that saw Trump lose his reelection to Democrat Joe Biden. To date, no evidence has been presented of widespread electoral fraud in 2020.
That detail hasn’t stopped the inventor of MyPillow from embarking on a crusade to uncover evidence of voter fraud, including bringing a lawsuit against voting equipment maker Dominion. Dominion, for its part, counterattacked Lindell and others, alleging libel.
A lawsuit filed against “MyPillow guy” Mike Lindell on February 22, 2021, includes several images of Lindell’s television appearances, including this one in which he appeared on the Newsmax cable channel. Dominion Voting Systems is suing Lindell for $ 1.3 billion. Newsmax’s practices are mentioned several times in the lawsuit. (Courtesy / TNS Photo)
In television and podcast appearances, Lindell has pushed the baseless claim that the voting machines used in the presidential election were tampered with. He pledged to unveil his findings at a three-day “cyber-symposium” starting Aug. 10, to be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
And he cited his distrust of voting material when asked about a potential gubernatorial candidacy during a recent “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” interview, saying he “wouldn’t be running to be a dog catcher right now if those machines are still around”.
Mike Webb has been a 20-year member of the Carver, Minnesota City Council. In 2012, Webb dealt with Lindell during the authorization process for his MyPillow factory there.
Webb, a self-proclaimed “recovering Republican,” says Dominion’s libel lawsuit against Lindell, and Lindell’s adoption of the poisonous oleander plant extract as a cure for COVID-19, may have hurt his chances to obtain the nomination for governor of the Republican Party of Minnesota.
“I think three months ago,” Webb said in an interview in June, “he was probably the top GOP candidate. And Trump would have backed him.
Despite the libel lawsuit and numerous certifications of Biden’s victory, Lindell continues to claim that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump and that Trump will somehow be reinstalled as Commander-in-Chief this month. He said to a crowd gathered in Mitchell, South Dakota in May as the United States Supreme Court, after examining the evidence of fraud, vote unanimously “to annul the election”.
Webb, who retired from local politics in 2018 after a four-year term as mayor of Carver, said Lindell’s rise to power surprised him. He recalled that it was difficult to work with Lindell during the authorization process for the MyPillow factory.
Roepke described Lindell as a loyal person with a heart for those in need. He recalled that Lindell employed homeless people and jumped in to lend money for a low-income housing development in Chaska.
When asked if Lindell’s shift to increasingly extreme politics surprised him, Roepke said he knew Lindell “from the business side”.
“Politics was not part of the discussion. I didn’t see him that way, so I didn’t see where it was something he wanted by getting involved, ”he said.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, seen on January 10, 2020, signing his book, said last year that he was rethinking about pouring his own money into an election race. (Star Tribune)
“It all comes down to this”
The most prominent Republican so far to launch a 2022 campaign for governor of Minnesota is former State Senator Scott Jensen. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has also publicly expressed interest in challenging Gov. Tim Walz, who is expected to run for re-election.
In an interview in June, Minnesota Republican Party President Jennifer Carnahan said she was unsure if Lindell was in serious talks for a race.
“It is difficult for me to comment because, as the chairman of the party, our constitutive documents require that the leaders of our party remain neutral until the end of our approval agreement, which will take place in May 2022”, she declared.
Among Republicans seeking to take back not only the governorship, but both houses of the Minnesota legislature, Walz’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has become a major issue. Gazelka repeatedly assaulted the governor for failing to involve the legislature in his decision-making and for re-authorizing the emergency powers granted to him.
And although Jensen lists “electoral integrity” as an issue on his campaign website, he says a lot more about preventing future school lockdowns and closures due to COVID-19.
Lindell, on the other hand, stayed out of the Minnesota fray and publicly spoke little of Walz.
MyPillow founder Mike Lindell spent the morning posing for photos with spectators at his booth at the Minnesota State Fair on August 23, 2018 (Anthony Souffle / Minneapolis Star Tribune / TNS)
Instead, Lindell focused her efforts earlier this year on the April launch of her social media app, Frank. Technical problems prevented it from becoming the promised conservative alternative to “free speech” to Twitter.
Then, in May, Lindell was kicked out of a Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee, where Trump’s ally reportedly planned to confront participants about voter fraud.
On Friday August 6, CNN aired an interview with Lindell where he was confronted with allegations of voter fraud. CNN in the article said it contacted two dozen cybersecurity experts and election officials in counties whose results are disputed by Lindell – these sources, according to CNN, say Lindell’s claims are false.
Like the underdog / escape artist / card shark / self-made man he describes in his book, Lindell doubles the stake: he’s offering $ 5 million to anyone who can disprove the data he says shows electoral interference.
Skeptics can claim the $ 5 million at the Lindell Cyber Symposium in South Dakota this week, which will air live August 10-12 at frankspeech.com.
To support his symposium, Lindell turns again to the brand that made him famous: he is launching a “flash sale” for MyPillow which he said in an advertisement will support the “historic event”.
“You all know what MyPillow and I have gone through in the past five months in my efforts to get the truth out. Well, it all comes down to that, ”he said of his symposium.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell steps out to a cheering crowd on Monday, May 10, 2021, at a rally at Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Lindell unveiled her “free speech” social media app, Frank. (Matt Gade / Republic)