MNGOP Elect New Leadership

Delegates choose a new party chair after four rounds, and a new deputy chair after two.

Preya Samsundar/Alpha News MN

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Jennifer Carnahan became the second female, and first minority, to be elected chair of a major political party in Minnesota as hundreds of delegates congregated in St. Cloud for the Minnesota Republican Party’s 2017 State Central Convention.

Delegates, lawmakers, activists, and hopeful candidates arrived late Friday and early Saturday morning to listen to yearly party officer reports and most importantly, vote for new party leadership.

As reported by Alpha News, the State Party Chair’s race took a nasty turn when outgoing Chair Keith Downey sent a 32-page memo detailing what he believed to be job failures of Deputy Chair Chris Fields, who was running for State Party Chair.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt gave a rousing speech encouraging attendees to take the fighting off the floor and to strap on sumo wrestling suits. Daudt told delegates that they could challenge him if they choose.

Daudt spoke about the happenings in St. Paul, telling delegates, “Republicans will give you your money back.” The Speaker also spoke about budget issues between Governor Mark Dayton and Republican leadership this cycle.

“We have a 1.65 billion surplus, don’t ever let the Governor take credit for that,” Daudt said. “Dayton would have us in a $3 billion deficit.”

Candidates for MNGOP Chair, Fields, Carnahan, former State Sen. David Hann and Committeeman for Republican National Committee Rick Rice had seven minutes to convince delegates to vote for them.

Rice was eliminated during the first round. “Thank you for supporting me as your RNC Committeeman,” Rice told the crowd in his concession speech.

Hann was eliminated during the third round. Hann, who received a standing ovation, told delegates that he hoped to continue working in the party, but did not specify what role he wanted to take.

In the fourth round, Carnahan won the state party chair’s race, beating Fields by more than 15 points.

In a press conference immediately after her win, Carnahan expressed her excitement to tackle the job of Chair. “All districts are important,” Carnahan said when asked about the 2017 mayoral races in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In the first round of the deputy chair’s race, David Pascoe, former Chair of CD5, lead the vote totals and no one was eliminated by convention rules. However, Andy Aplikowski conceded before the second round.

Pascoe won the Deputy Chair’s race with 62 percent against Jennifer DeJournett.

“I’m honored to be elected by the delegates,” Pascoe said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, I’m excited to get into the office and start working for the activists and turning Minnesota red in 2018.”

MNGOP Secretary Barb Sutter was re-elected. She ran unopposed.

Republicans also added the Somali Republican American Affiliate. One delegate spoke out against the measure stating, “this would be the approval of Islamic/Sharia affiliate.” A majority of delegates loudly opposed the delegate making the motion, and gave Faisal Deri, a Somali delegate, a standing ovation for his speech on being a Republican and an American.

The transition of Chair and Deputy Chair roles with happen on Monday May 1, 2017.

Read the Alpha News profile on Jennifer Carnahan HERE.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.