Going Rogue: Four Republican House Members Break Out From GOP Caucus

Four Republican representatives are parting ways with the House Republican Caucus to form their own caucus.

Reps. Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa, Cal Bahr of East Bethel, Tim Miller of Prinsburg, and Jeremy Munson of Lake Crystal formally announced the formation of the New House Republican Caucus Monday.

The members decided to start their own caucus in the “pursuit of a positive working environment” that will “support transparency and accountability.” This, the members hope, will help them better serve their constituents.

“We want the opportunity to clarify our positions, and as importantly, our goals,” they said in a statement. “We formed this caucus because we desire to be more productive for our constituents by facilitating a transparent and inclusive environment where all Republicans are welcome and civil debate can take place. We desire honesty and integrity in all efforts.”

The move reflects the tension between some GOP legislators and the House Republican Caucus (HRC) leadership. By breaking off to create a new caucus, the legislators can better work together as a group and will have more control of the hiring and management of their staff. The four members hope the caucus will grow to include other legislators that share their values and goals.

“For both the old House Republican Caucus and the Governor elect, we will support them when they are right and oppose them when they are wrong,” the members said in a statement.

In a letter obtained by the Star Tribune, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, who will become the minority leader at the start of the upcoming legislative session, voiced concerns over how the new caucus will impact staffing and committee spots. The new caucus addressed the concerns, saying their deflection will not change staffing ratios, nor will it alter the number of committee assignments of each Republican legislator.

“The New House Republican Caucus will work with the Republican Party and all other organizations to further policies for voters that will be successful and benefit all Minnesotans,” the members said in a statement. “If we work together in the best interests of our constituents, we will avoid a repeat of last month’s election results.”

“At the end of the day, we are still Republicans who support Minnesota values,” they added.

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Christine Bauman