Jim Schultz: Republicans can and must win in Minnesota 

Minnesota is a state teetering on a knife’s edge. But with strong and bold leadership, good candidates, and a lot of hard work from everyone who wants change in our state, we could go a different direction and lead the state toward decades of prosperity.  

Former Republican attorney general nominee Jim Schultz participates in a primary debate. (Alpha News)

Republicans in Minnesota are understandably discouraged right now. The 2022 election in Minnesota and nationally was a disappointment, delivering the “trifecta” of the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate to Democrats and decisively re-electing Tim Walz to the governor’s office.

Alongside that Democrats are leveraging their newfound power for the most extreme policies in Minnesota history. These include taxpayer-funded abortion on demand until birth, tax hikes despite a $19 billion surplus, and a 35% increase in spending meant to fund every far-left fad imaginable.

But those of us who are disturbed by the train wreck of our state’s current leadership have reason for hope: we can win in Minnesota and turn our state around.

Let’s look at the numbers. In 2022 Minnesota was 529 votes away from having a GOP majority in the Minnesota House, and 161 votes away from having a majority in the Minnesota Senate. In an election in which about 2.5 million votes were cast, those are infinitesimally small numbers.

In my race for Minnesota attorney general — historically the most difficult of the statewide offices to win — we obtained the largest number of votes for any Republican state candidate in Minnesota history. Despite many previously believing that no Republican could get over 47% of the vote in Minnesota, we got 49.6% of the vote, a higher percentage of the vote than any state Republican since 1994. We even outperformed President Trump’s margins everywhere in Minnesota, including by over 3% in rural areas and by over 5% in the suburbs.

Republicans also almost won the state auditor’s race.

This all happened despite the national environment for Republicans being mixed, with Republicans only gaining nine seats in the U.S. House, losing one seat in the U.S. Senate, and losing two governorships. It also happened despite Republicans being outspent in Minnesota by a ratio of nearly 4-1.

With just a slightly different environment nationally or slightly different circumstances in Minnesota, we would today be talking about a Republican legislature holding Gov. Walz accountable, a Republican attorney general for the first time in nearly 60 years, and a very different long-term trajectory for our state.

And although none of us would wish upon our state the policies now being pushed by our government, such policies will turn off most Minnesotans. Minnesotans wanted more jobs, a growing economy, safer communities, and a return to normalcy. Instead they got late-term abortion (something 70% of Americans oppose) and sex changes for kids (something 67% of Minnesotans oppose). There isn’t recent polling on the Democrats’ planned tax hikes but considering our $19 billion surplus and Minnesota’s status as one of the highest taxed states in the nation, it’s safe to say that most Minnesotans are not supportive. And there continues to be a crime epidemic and the DFL’s answer is giving municipalities a few extra bucks. I could go on.

The far left governing our state is acting as though the Minnesota electorate is the faculty lounge at the University of Minnesota. It is not. Minnesotans didn’t vote for such kookiness in the 2022 election, and Minnesotans will remember it in the elections in 2024 and 2026.

Minnesota is a state teetering on a knife’s edge. We could go the direction of Illinois or California, becoming a dysfunctional state that people are fleeing every year by the tens of thousands. But with strong and bold leadership, good candidates, and a lot of hard work from everyone who wants change in our state, we could go a different direction and lead the state toward decades of prosperity.

We can win in Minnesota. And we must win in Minnesota. There are 5.7 million people who deserve better than our state’s current leadership and their destructive policies. We are a state with a proud and worthy history — from the explorers who sought out the Northwest Passage, to the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg, to the innovators who have created some of the world’s most successful companies — that must be preserved. We are a state that is better than what we have shown in recent years.

We must turn around our home. Let’s all keep fighting to make sure that we do.

Jim Schultz of Plymouth, Minn., was the Republican nominee for attorney general in 2022.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not represent an official position of Alpha News. 


Jim Schultz

Jim Schultz is the President of the Minnesota Private Business Council and was the 2022 Republican nominee for Attorney General.