Commentary: Time for change atop the Minnesota GOP

Carnahan was extremely confident in recent interviews, forecasting assorted electoral victories like in 2018. None occurred. 

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan (MNGOP/Twitter)

Unlike in education, government, and some businesses where failure or subpar performance is ignored, politics and sports are usually two industries where accountability exists.

Jennifer Carnahan has been Republican Party of Minnesota chair for nearly four years. I am pleased that her husband, Jim Hagedorn, was re-elected to Congress last week — and we should be glad Republicans likely held the Minnesota Senate — but how have Minnesota Republicans done statewide under her tenure?


Even liberal bastions like Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont have elected Republican governors more recently than this state; the Land of 10,000 Lakes, which is not as left leaning as the aforementioned locales, somehow has not done that, or won any statewide seat. This includes several senatorial elections, along with secretary of state, attorney general and even state auditor.

Former State Rep. Keith Downey held the GOP chair role four years prior to Carnahan and oversaw defeats in a similar manner. He was replaced by Carnahan early in 2017. Yet Minnesota has now failed to elect a Republican statewide for 12 years and counting. This has spanned several party leaders; it is again time for accountability.

Carnahan was extremely confident in recent interviews, forecasting assorted electoral victories like in 2018. None occurred.

Joe Biden won Minnesota by nearly 200,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016. Tina Smith cruised to U.S. Senate re-election over Jason Lewis.

Some seek new House leadership despite gaining seats, since Republicans did not retake the chamber. Should the same not occur for party chairperson?

A GOP insider recently told me that Kendall Qualls, who lost his Third Congressional District race to incumbent Dean Phillips, is being recruited as a potential chairman.

Qualls received about 200,000 votes and outperformed President Donald Trump by more than five points in his district. He’s an African-American leader with military and business experience, who also consistently outraised Phillips.

A party leader, who also wished to remain anonymous, said “Carnahan is not producing, or even gaining ground, so she should be replaced by someone better.”


A.J. Kaufman

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.