A bitter leadership fight came to an end Saturday as hundreds of Minnesota Republican Party delegates picked their next chair in a virtual vote.
And with 67% of the vote — 224 to 109 — the Central Committee re-elected Jennifer Carnahan to a third term. Carnahan becomes the first chairman in the organization’s history to serve three terms.
“I’m honored and humbled that our party’s grassroots base has the continued confidence in me to lead our party for the next two years,” Carnahan said Saturday. “Over the last four years we’ve rebuilt our party, expanded our base, eliminated our debt, improved our finances and brought a new energy to our cause.”
She will lead fundraising and strategy heading into 2022, when the governorship, newly drawn congressional districts, and all state legislative seats will be on the ballot.
Under Carnahan’s four-year tenure, Republicans lost two U.S. congressional seats, and the party extended its long run of failing to win a statewide race, including Joe Biden increasing the Democrats’ margin over Donald Trump in the presidential election.
While Republicans in other states sparred over the role Trump should play in the party’s future, the fight in Minnesota was fierce and often personal.
In emails obtained and reviewed by Alpha News, several current and past Executive Committee members expressed opposition to Carnahan, with complaints about her lack of communication, financial mismanagement, impugning of reputations, creating a toxic environment, use of intimidation, and more.
Carnahan defeated state Sen. Mark Koran, who has represented Chisago and Isanti counties since 2016. She questioned his integrity and said Koran’s attacks would hurt party unity.
Koran used “Leadership without Drama” as a campaign slogan, and said the party needs a “new direction and overhaul.”
“2022 and 2024 are transformational years, and I can’t wait to be on the front lines,” Koran told Alpha News earlier this week. “My responsibilities give me knowledge that can’t be obtained unless you’ve served in office. We need to get back to basics, drive great policy, and build a farm league of vetted, qualified candidates.”
Carnahan claims the Minnesota GOP is “a party on the rise, poised to tip the scales and put the individual liberties and constitutional freedoms of Minnesota first again.”
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.