Republican Party of Minnesota


Early history

The Republican Party in Minnesota was the dominant party in the state for approximately the first seventy years of Minnesota's statehood, from 1858 through the 1920s. The 1892 Republican National Convention was held in Minneapolis. Republican candidates routinely won the state governorship as well as most other state offices. The party was aided by an opposition divided between the Democratic Party and the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, who eventually merged in 1944.

Independent-Republican era

The Independent-Republicans of Minnesota (I-R) was the name of the party from November 15, 1975 until September 23, 1995. The name change was made because the "Republican" name was damaged by the Watergate Scandal. Polls conducted in the early-mid-1970s indicated people in Minnesota were more likely to vote for a candidate who identified as an "Independent" versus a "Republican". During that time, the state party became more dependent on grassroots fundraising and eventually went bankrupt. After the National party pumped money into the party, in the early-mid-1980s, their image and base began turning more conservative. During this time the party had both US Senate seats and briefly held control of the state House of Representatives. By 1994, the grassroots had turned socially more conservative, and changed the name back in 1995. Attempts to drop the term "Independent" had been defeated in 1989, 1991 and 1993.

Recent history

The previous Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty is a Republican. After Pawlenty's re-election in 2006, Republicans held the governorship for 16 of 20 years through the end of 2010. In the general election of 2010, the party captured both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature for the first time since the 1970s,[1] and defeated 18-term Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar by electing Chip Cravaack, despite having lost every statewide race.

For the 2006 U.S. Senate election, the party endorsed Mark Kennedy for United States Senate, who lost to Amy Klobuchar.

In the 2008 U.S. Senate election, incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman was defeated by Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Al Franken by 312 votes out of over 2.5 million cast after a long series of dramatic, contentious and expensive re-counts.

The Party of Minnesota was fined $170,000 for violating federal campaign finance regulations from 2003 to 2008.[2] The Chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party Tony Sutton (R) was found guilty of circumventing Finance Laws in the Gubernatorial Election Recount of 2010 and fined $33,000. (2010)[3][4]

For the 2010 statewide elections, the party endorsed State Representative Tom Emmer and Metropolitan Council member Annette Meeks for governor and lieutenant governor. State Representative Dan Severson was the endorsed candidate for secretary of state. Attorney and psychologist Chris Barden was the endorsed candidate for attorney general. Patricia Anderson was the endorsed candidate for state auditor. All five candidates lost their respective elections.

Following the 2010 gubernatorial recount, the Minnesota GOP was heavily in debt, owing $2 million primarily for the recount of votes. The GOP had stopped paying rent for its headquarters near the Capitol and the landlord filed an eviction summons once the Party had fallen $111,000 behind in rent.[5][6] They announced they would move their headquarters to Minneapolis's Seward neighborhood in January 2014. The new headquarters will be situated cater-corner from the Seward Community Cafe where it will share a building with a Pizza Luce.[7] Party Chairman Keith Downey said they were moving away from St. Paul "to be closer to the people."[8]

In 2010, Republicans had taken control of both houses of the State Legislature for the first time in three decades, only to lose both houses in 2012.

Current elected officials

The Minnesota Republican Party holds none of the five statewide elected offices and neither United States Senate seat. It is the majority in the Minnesota Senate, the minority in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and holds three of the state's eight United States House of Representatives seats.

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

  • None

Both of Minnesota's U.S. Senate seats have been held by Democrats since 2008. Norm Coleman was the last Republican to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. First elected in 2002, Coleman lost his bid for a second term in 2008 to Al Franken.

U.S. House of Representatives

Out of the 8 seats Minnesota is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, 3 are held by Republicans:

Statewide offices

  • None

Minnesota has not elected any GOP candidates to statewide office since 2006, when Tim Pawlenty was re-elected as governor. In 2010, Pawlenty opted not to seek re-election to a third term. State representative Tom Emmer ran as the Republican nominee in the 2010 election and was subsequently defeated by Democratic challenger Mark Dayton.

State Legislature

See also


  1. Kaszuka, Mike (November 4, 2010). "Republicans celebrate, outline legislative goals". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on September 15, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  3., July 13, 2012, Minn. GOP, former chairman fined over recount by Tom Scheck
  4. "GOP chairman Sutton to join PR company". 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  5., July 13, 2012, Minn. GOP, former chairman fined over recount by Tom Scheck
  6. Helgeson, Baird; Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (April 23, 2012). "Debt-laden Minn. GOP notified of eviction". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  7. Helgeson, Baird (December 9, 2013). "State GOP moves HQ to Minneapolis DFL stronghold". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 23, 2014. The new location puts the party headquarters in the heart of a longtime DFL stronghold.
  8. Salisbury, Bill (December 9, 2013). "Minnesota GOP to move offices from St. Paul to Minneapolis". Pioneer Press. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
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