Minnesota State Representative Candidate Withdraws From Race After Saying ‘ISIS Isn’t Necessarily Evil’

A Democrat candidate for a state representative seat in Minnesota has withdrawn from the race after he drew ire from many — including those in his own party — with a controversial tweet following the Paris terrorist attacks.

“ISIS isn’t necessarily evil,” Dan Kimmel, a candidate for a Minnesota state representative seat tweeted Saturday. “It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though.”

The Islamic State has taken responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday that claimed the lives of more than 120 people and injured hundreds of others. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, French President Francois Hollande said he viewed the attack as an “act of war” and promised a “pitiless” response. 

Kimmel, 63, asserted in a follow-up that he “deplores” the Islamic State’s actions and was not defended them. However, the candidate still drew the ire of many on social media, including the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party leaders.

In a post on his campaign website, Kimmel said his tweet was “poorly worded” and thus announced the end of his candidacy.

“I am folding up my campaign tent,” Kimmel said, adding an apology for those who volunteered or donated to his campaign.

“I do think the attacks in Paris yesterday, along with other ISIS terrorist actions, are cowardly and despicable. My heart breaks for the people of France, of Paris, the families of those wounded or killed and the casualties themselves,” Kimmel said. “My thoughts are with them. I condemn the attacks, as I condemn all violence.”

“Earlier tonight a candidate for the Minnesota House made comments that do not reflect the views of the Minnesota DFL and have no place in our party,” DFL Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement. “On behalf of the Minnesota DFL, I strongly condemn his comments. I ask Dan Kimmel to apologize to all the families who have been torn apart by the terrorist organization and their senseless violence. In this time of enormous grief, we shouldn’t be making excuses for this barbaric behavior.”

DFL Leader Paul Thissen in Minnesota’s House also addressed Kimmel’s comments on social media.

He also responded with an affirmative to a question of whether or not the DFL will ask Kimmel to drop out of the race.

According to Alpha News, Kimmel is running in the District 56A which covers portions of Dakota and Scott counties. The representative for the district currently is Drew Christensen, a 22-year-old Republican.

Kimmel also reiterated his comments on the Islamic State on his public Facebook page. According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, he received appointments to West Point and the Air Force Academy. He also received a full Naval ROTC scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.

The story has been updated to include Kimmel’s comments from his campaign website.

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