Looking back over the last twelve months, we have had some disappointments. Yet it has also has been a time of growth, a lot of volunteer effort, and accomplishments.
The November election results were clearly a disappointment. DFL candidates won all of the MN House seats in Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Minnetonka. In Congressional District 3 (CD 3), we had a high voter turnout for a non-presidential year. Unfortunately, we were not able to retain the Republican votes that we garnered in 2016.
Thanks to Jim Bowen and several dedicated volunteers, we were recognized for our Get-Out-The-Vote efforts in CD 3, and CD 3 had the strongest GOTV results in the state. We had volunteers who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and installed and removed lawn signs. Credit also goes to Trish Burnison, who took on the challenge of stuffing over 2,500 lit bags. Our volunteers made perhaps our strongest contribution ever to the campaign work of the local and statewide candidates. Yet the DFL effort was even stronger. The party that works hard at personal outreach clearly has the advantage. It is one of the areas of improvement ahead of us.
Our senate district put on a number of educational, social, and fundraising events this year.
We sponsored programs on topics ranging from the GOP Governor Candidates to Local Police Work for Community Health, from Conservative Approaches to Energy Policy to a report from the Minnesota Voters Alliance. Rep. Dario Anselmo gave us a legislative update, followed by a talk by Lonny Leitner on defending our positions from a moral and emotion-filled standpoint. We learned about identity politics from several Chinese-Americans and the impact of “political correctness” from two local young women who have experienced it in the workplace and on college campuses.
On a more traditional note, we are now regular participants in two major local parades. Sporting signs, banners, and campaign t-shirts, we marched in the Edina July 4th parade and the Bloomington Heritage Days parade. This year, we had several candidates join us, which proved to be a great way to get to know them.
We joined with Senate District 50 on several social and family-oriented activities. Over 90 adults and 20 kids came out for our mid-summer picnic. Eleven local, statewide, and Congressional candidates dropped by to urge us to get involved and vote Republican. In August, the two senate districts started hosting monthly networking events. These “Pints & Politics” have developed their own set of regulars who enjoy the informality of these happy hour gatherings. They are great ways to casually drop in and meet other local Republicans.
Our “Fall Conversation” in mid-November featured our traditional wine tasting followed by a post-election panel discussion. This year’s panel brought together Rep. Matt Dean, former state senator Julianne Ortman, and entrepreneur Howard Root, with Max Rymer as moderator. The panelists brought forth a number of ideas for the future direction of our party. This fundraiser netted over $3,300 for our senate district.
The senate district has made a major effort to enhance its social media impact. Our newsletter goes out roughly twice a month to over 3600 addresses. Almost a quarter are regular readers. Our website is frequently visited as a source of local events, unique articles, election information, and interesting links. We are striving to be a valued source of original reporting on local subjects from our conservative perspective. Given the nature of other media sources in our area, we believe that we are providing an essential service.
Dedicated but unpaid volunteers are at the heart of our efforts. We have an Executive Committee of 16 people that meet monthly to plan and manage our activities. Our main objectives are to support and contribute to our endorsed candidates, efficiently run our local party functions, and expand our membership. In pursuing these objectives, we have raised and spent over $29,000 this year. We greatly appreciate your participation in our events, your support of our volunteer calls, and your contributions. We could not do what we do without you.
With your involvement and encouragement, we look forward to an eventful 2019. We hope you’ll find ways to join in as we work to better represent our conservative principles, improve our outreach, offer insightful articles and programs, promote strong leadership, and provide regular opportunities to get together and exchange ideas.
We wish you a joyous holiday and a happy new year.