At the State Central meeting on December 3, former Senate District 49 co-chair and House District 49B candidate Barbara Sutter was elected Minnesota Republican Party Secretary in a special election. Replacing Ryan Love, who relocated to Florida for employment, Sutter’s term will run until April 2017. All the state party executive officers will be up for election in April.
The SD49 delegation at the State Central meeting grew to 12 members, as all eight (8) alternates that attended the meeting were able to vote through cross-seating within CD 3. In attendance were Greg Beam, Nancy Carlson, Lew and Sandra Coffey, Bill Glahn, Grant Johnson, Carol Kerr, Bob Maginnis, Vince Riehm, Randy Sutter, Lynn Swon, and Don Teigen. Barbara Sutter voted as a member of the State Executive Committee, and Barbara Maginnis voted as a delegate of the Republican Seniors affiliate group.
A number of Republican congressmen, congressional candidates, state legislators, and Hennepin County Sheriff spoke to the meeting. They celebrated the results in the last election, including the achievement of a majority in both the state house and senate. To have 34 Republican senators to 33 DFL senators, Republicans had to beat eight incumbent DFL senators. The Minnesota press, even the majority of party donors, didn’t believe that it would happen.
To make the state senate majority effective, all 34 Republican senators must stand together. To stay in the majority, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Hann felt that Republicans must 1) restore the individual health insurance marketplace; and 2) improve education performance, giving power to parents to make school choice decisions.
House Majority Leader Daudt was proud of how far the House has come. He recalled that just four years ago, the public’s perception was that the Republicans were the radical ones, and the Democrats were the moderates. The House caucus began building a better infrastructure, and today there are 76 Republican legislators in the House to 57 DFL legislators. Republicans picked up four seats in the Metro area, in districts that Trump lost. Republicans won 12 seats in districts state-wide that Clinton won. Daudt reiterated that we must find a solution to the health insurance crisis, because the people getting hurt the most are “our people” – family farmers and small business owners.
Jason Lewis, the new MN Congressman from the 2nd Congressional District, noted that our current majority in the US Senate is not enough to block a filibuster. However, there are 10 Democratic Senators up for re-election in two years in states won by Donald Trump. He urged attendees to keep up the pressure on those senators to support the work that Republicans hope to get done in this Congress.
Two Republican candidates for Congress that came very close but did not prevail indicated their strong intention to run again. They stressed the need for perseverance. Candidates need to be prepared to run for four or more years over two or more election cycles, and to run issue-based campaigns. To their fellow Republicans that won their races, they urged the party to govern in accordance with Republican principles, to keep up the good fight at the local level.
In wrapping up, MN Party Chair Keith Downey pointed to the successes that the Republican state party achieved in this election. Key among them was in the quantity and quality of our data. Our efforts in early voting were also important. CD3 lost the early and absentee ballot numbers by only a sliver this year.
Areas that needed more work:
1) Couldn’t adequately support enough races
2) Couldn’t get out enough volunteers
3) Senate districts only partially adopted or piloted BPOU/leadership development
4) Election-related competencies were very uneven statewide
State Central attendees left the meeting clearly understanding that the race for 2018 has already started.