Looking back over the last twelve months, we shared times of commitment and inspiration, frustration and exhilaration, introspection and re-dedication. We were joined by some great new people, were buoyed by a lot of volunteer effort, and we benefited from some important learning experiences. We have challenges ahead of us. And we have some strong candidates and potential candidates willing to rally us to meet those challenges.
The November election results were clearly a disappointment in Bloomington and Edina. We were pleased to recommend some particularly strong candidates for the Edina school board and the Bloomington municipal races. They mounted positive campaigns that articulated their positions and provided clear choices for the voters in their communities. The efforts put forth by these candidates resulted in a notably higher voter turnout for a non-presidential, non-school referendum year.
We congratulate the conservative candidates in the Eden Prairie school board race that won their seats. We will be following the impact that they have on the performance of their school over the course of the next few years.
We would particularly like to recognize the work done by campaign volunteers in getting out lawn signs and leveraging social media. They provide high candidate name recognition. Lessons were learned, and efforts to address those lessons will be the focus of the coming year.
Our senate district put on a number of educational, social, and fundraising events this year.
• In January, Max Rymer gave a frank assessment of what is and isn’t working for the Republican Party, and for the DFL.
• Brad Aho spoke in February of the impact of local and regional governments on the affordability of housing.
• March featured Lisa and Klaus Schneegans, talking about the digital campaign arms race and what their Right Tech Pac is doing to level the playing field.
• In April, Jason Flores, State Director for the Minnesota Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, pointed out how Governor Walz’ spending demands were impeding efforts to reach a budget compromise.
• At the conclusion of the legislative session in May, Sen. David Osmek recapped the issues that Republicans overcame to reach the 2020 biennial budget - including increased taxes, growing state government control over health care, unrealistic energy mandates, and even a state model for K-12 sex education.
• In September, we hosted a forum for Edina school board candidates. With SD49 accused of being a partisan organization with a strong agenda, only Sarah Patzloff, Linda Friede, and Lou Nanne appeared. The forum was open to all community members and proved very effective, posing all questions submitted by the audience.
• Willis Krumholz, contributor to the Federalist and AlphaNews, provided a comprehensive backdrop on economic influences in the upcoming 2020 campaign. He made thoughtful and comprehensive recommendations on positions that conservative candidates should take to broaden their appeal.
We continued our tradition of participating 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 were joined by two candidates for Congress, Kendall Qualls (Congressional District 3) and Lacy Johnson (Congressional District 5), 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. Our monthly networking events, “Pints & Politics”, have proven popular for those who enjoy the informality of these happy hour gatherings to meet with other local Republicans.
In August, over 80 adults and kids came out for our mid-summer picnic. Several local candidates dropped by to urge us to get involved and vote Republican, including MN Sen. David Osmek, MN Rep. Greg Boe, Rob Barrett (US Senate Candidate), Kendall Qualls, Ryan Kulka (Bloomington Mayor Candidate), and Sarah Patzloff (Edina School Board).
Our “Fall Conversation” in mid-November started with a lively cocktail hour followed by a compelling panel discussion. This year’s panel brought together two strong metropolitan Congressional candidates, Kendall Qualls and Lacy Johnson. Max Rymer did an outstanding job as moderator. The panelists brought forth a serious discussion about the positive messages that will drive the campaigns in 2020. This fundraiser netted almost $2,500 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 3700 email 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.
We also maintain a basic presence on Facebook and Twitter and continue to gain new connections to those who found us from those sites.
Dedicated but unpaid volunteers are at the heart of our efforts. Russ Burnison and Joel Quinnell were elected co-chairs of the senate district at our 2019 convention. They head an Executive Committee of 16 people that meets 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 about $16,500 this year, with additional reserves put aside for the 2020 campaigns. 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 2020. 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.