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Jennifer Carnahan to run for re-election for MN GOP chair

GOP flipped three House seats under her tenure, but struggles to win state-wide elections.

Jennifer Carnahan
Jennifer Carnahan

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan is seeking re-election.

Carnahan brings a mixed record to her re-election effort. In her statement, Carnahan cited flipping three U.S. House seats to the Republican column -- including District 1 held by her husband, Rep. Jim Hagedorn, and districts 7 and 9.

She also described bringing financial order to the party when it was $1 million in debt when she took over.

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But her party is mired in a multi-cycle election drought in terms of its ability to win federal and statewide offices. The state went to the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, as it has since 1972, despite the campaign of former President Donald Trump pouring more resources into the state this year than in 2016.

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Both U.S. Senate seats are in the hands of Democrats, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. The Democrats continue to have a stranglehold on statewide offices, with Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison prevailing in 2018. The party has won only one statewide office since 2006.

Carnahan will be challenged by State Sen. Mark Koran of North Branch, who declared his candidacy last November. Koran said the party "needs direction and overhaul" if the party is to defeat Walz in 2022.

The election will be held April 10 during the MNGOP State Central Committee meeting.

"When I first ran for the MN GOP Chair position in 2017, I walked into an organization plagued with debt and division. Since then, we've paid off our legacy debt, expanded our organization to become more inclusive and invested in our grassroots," Carnahan said in a statement.

"Our party is stronger than we were four years ago and I'm running again because I believe it's important to build on the successes we've achieved, keep stable leadership in place and ensure our party remains on the right track as we head into the 2022 elections," she added.

Carnahan also lent her voice to the false narrative that the presidential election was fraudulent by citing "extreme data abnormalities" about Minnesota's vote and vaguely calling for the counting of all "legal votes."

After the riot and insurrection at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, fueled by President Trump's false claim that the election had been stolen from him, Carnahan condemned the attacks and called for a peaceful transition.

She also one tweeted out support for the idea of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell running for governor. Lindell retweeted a tweet of attorney Lin Wood, who called for marital law to be declared in states that went to Biden.

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Carnahan was recently elected to the Republican National Committee's Executive Committee, heads the Asian American Pacific Island Caucus, serves on the board of the RNC's Conservative Caucus and as commissioner on the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
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