Republican Party of Minnesota

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Republican Party of Minnesota
ChairpersonDavid Hann
Senate LeaderMark Johnson
House LeaderLisa Demuth
FoundedMarch 29, 1855; 167 years ago (1855-03-29)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Headquarters7400 Metro Boulevard Suite 424
Edina, Minnesota
Student wingMinnesota College Republicans
Youth wingMinnesota Young Republicans
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
Political positionCenter-right
National affiliationRepublican Party
Colors  Red
State Senate
33 / 67
State House
64 / 134
Statewide Executive Offices
0 / 5
U.S. Senate
0 / 2
U.S. House of Representatives
4 / 8

The Republican Party of Minnesota is the oldest active political party in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The Minnesota Republican Party’s platform is relatively moderate. The party’s main issues are economic growth, education, healthcare, civil rights, public safety, and environmental protection.[1] It has a strong voter base in rural and suburban parts of Minnesota. It is the state affiliate of the Republican Party.


Early history[edit]

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, which eventually merged in 1944.

Independent-Republican era[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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[edit]

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,[2] 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.[3] 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)[4][5]

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.[6][7] They announced they would move their headquarters to Minneapolis's Seward neighborhood in January 2014. The new headquarters is situated diagonally across from the Seward Community Cafe where it shares a building with a Pizza Luce.[8] Party Chairman Keith Downey said they were moving away from St. Paul "to be closer to the people."[9] The headquarters were later moved to Edina.[10]

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.

In 2021, the Minnesota Republican Party became a subject of controversy when donor and strategist Anton Lazzaro was indicted for sex trafficking charges.[11][12][13][14] Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan resigned amidst the controversy.[15]

Current elected officials[edit]

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

Members of Congress[edit]

U.S. Senate[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Out of the 8 seats Minnesota is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, 4 are held by Republicans:

District Member Photo
1st Brad Finstad
Brad Finstad 117th Congress (cropped).jpeg
6th Tom Emmer
Tom Emmer official portrait 114th Congress (cropped).jpg
7th Michelle Fischbach
2020-11-18-LH-Studio1- Fischbach-Michelle-0029-re-SELECT (cropped).jpg
8th Pete Stauber
Pete Stauber, official portrait, 116th Congress (cropped).jpg

Statewide offices[edit]

  • None

Minnesota has not elected any GOP candidates to statewide office since 2006, when Tim Pawlenty was narrowly 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[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About | MNGOP". 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2021-11-21.
  2. ^ Kaszuka, Mike (November 4, 2010). "Republicans celebrate, outline legislative goals". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on September 15, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  4. ^, July 13, 2012, Minn. GOP, former chairman fined over recount by Tom Scheck [2]
  5. ^ "GOP chairman Sutton to join PR company". 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  6. ^, July 13, 2012, Minn. GOP, former chairman fined over recount by Tom Scheck [3]
  7. ^ Helgeson, Baird; Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (April 23, 2012). "Debt-laden Minn. GOP notified of eviction". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Salisbury, Bill (December 9, 2013). "Minnesota GOP to move offices from St. Paul to Minneapolis". Pioneer Press. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "About | MNGOP". Retrieved 2021-02-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Raguse, Lou. "MN GOP chair scrutinized after donor charged with sex trafficking". KARE 11.
  12. ^ Sheth, Sonam. "A GOP strategist was arrested on 10 felony counts of underage sex trafficking, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice". Insider.
  13. ^ Lyden, Tom. "The making of Tony Lazzaro". Fox 9.
  14. ^ Pagliery, Jose. "GOP Strategist Arrested for Underage Sex Trafficking". The Daily Beast.
  15. ^ Kare 11 Staff. "Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan resigns". KARE 11.

External links[edit]