Lucy Rehm supported sanctuary policy, unlimited abortion in House tenure

House District 48B will be one of the most closely-watched seats when the 2024 elections take place in November.

Democrat Rep. Lucy Rehm will face Republican Caleb Steffenhagen this fall in the House District 48B race.

This article is the first in a series called “Swing-District Spotlight” in which Alpha News examines competitive state legislative seats across Minnesota.

In 2022, Democrat Lucy Rehm won a southwest metro seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives by just 417 votes. Defeating a Republican incumbent, Rehm became another example of the Democratic Party’s increasing competitiveness and dominance in Minnesota’s suburban legislative seats.

Nevertheless, Rehm’s Carver County district, which includes all of Chanhassen and a large part of Chaska, is still a true swing-district. As a matter of fact, House District 48B will be one of the most closely-watched seats when the 2024 elections take place in November.

Despite representing a swing-district, Rehm has taken it upon herself to support many of the most left-wing policies that have been debated in the halls of the Minnesota State Capitol over the last two years.

Earlier this session, Democrats authored legislation that would limit law enforcement officers and agencies from assisting federal authorities in enforcing civil immigration law. In short, HF 3459 would effectively make Minnesota a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. Rehm signed on as a co-author of the bill.

In 2023, Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature voted to legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy with no restrictions. Known as the Protect Reproduction Options (PRO) Act, HF 1 was signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz. Rep. Rehm served as a co-author of the PRO Act and voted for its passage.

A recent KSTP/SurveyUSA poll found that 51% of Minnesotans disapprove of the PRO Act. Meanwhile, only a little over one-third of Minnesotans approve of the PRO Act.

Additionally, Rep. Rehm supported a pair of gun control bills. One of those bills would set new requirements regarding how guns are stored. Under the proposed law, gun owners who fail to adhere to the storage standards could face criminal penalties. The other gun control bill would outright ban the sale or transfer of many popular rifles. Neither gun bill became state law.

One of the more peculiar pieces of legislation supported by Rep. Rehm was HF 1801, a bill to urge Congress to grant statehood to Washington, D.C. Among other things, the admission of Washington, D.C. to the Union would actually dilute Minnesota’s political power at the federal level.

Given the list of legislative priorities Rep. Rehm has supported, one would expect the first-term lawmaker to hail from a more traditionally left-wing part of the state, such as Minneapolis or St. Paul. However, Rehm represents eastern Carver County, an area which typically supported GOP candidates for many years. More recently, eastern Carver County has become a competitive political battleground.

In 2022, the voters of District 48B backed both Republican and Democratic candidates for public office. For example, Democrats Tim Walz and Steve Simon won the district in their respective campaigns for governor and secretary of state. Conversely, Republicans Jim Schultz and Ryan Wilson won the district in their campaigns for attorney general and state auditor, respectively.

That same year, Republican Congressman Tom Emmer lost the district by just over 100 votes in his successful reelection campaign. The district’s Republican state senator, Julia Coleman, lost 48B by just 10 votes in her winning campaign.

Undoubtedly, the toss-up nature of the district, paired with Rehm’s decidedly left-wing politics, will create an opening for Republicans seeking to win the seat in November.

The Democrats currently have a 70-64 majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives. As such, Republicans would need to pick up at least four additional seats to win control of the chamber and break up the Democrats’ control of state government.

In April, the Republican Party endorsed Caleb Steffenhagen as their candidate for the District 48B seat. Steffenhagen is a small business owner, teacher, and National Guard officer from Chanhassen.

“I hear over and over from the people in our community that they haven’t been represented,” Steffenhagen told Alpha News. “I’m stepping forward because we need to balance out local representation and create stronger solutions together.”

Running with a focus on affordability for Chanhassen and Chaska families, Steffenhagen told Alpha News “we need to support our police officers and first responders.”

“Rep. Rehm’s record reflects a partisan approach in the legislature that has divided our community,” added Steffenhagen.

Alpha News reached out to Rep. Rehm for comment on this story. The state legislator did not respond.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.