After tweeting nearly 13,000 times over the last dozen years, the DFL’s top ranking lawmaker in the House of Representatives says she’s walking away from the popular social media platform.
Rep. Melissa Hortman’s decision to leave Twitter came following weeks of public infighting among some of her Democrat colleagues at the legislature over disagreements and conflicting views on the geopolitical and humanitarian situation involving Palestinians in Gaza.
Earlier this month, Hortman, of Brooklyn Park, announced to her Twitter audience (now branded as “X”) that she can be found on other platforms opining about political issues and communicating with those interested in her legislative work, but that she will no longer supply such content on the Elon Musk-owned platform.
“It’s been clear for a long time that Twitter is not making the world a better place & that has only become more apparent in recent weeks,” Hortman posted on Twitter on Dec. 1. “I’ve been here very infrequently the last several months, but it’s time to officially move on.”
Hortman then made her last Twitter post a reply with links to her Facebook and Instagram profiles.
Hortman’s promise to abandon the social media platform that she had once been a frequent user of (she’s hit the “like” button on more than 42,000 tweets, most of which are related to politics) came just 24 hours following politically charged exchanges between members of her own DFL House caucus over a “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” protest held at the state Capitol.
A number of DFL legislators have been outspoken in recent weeks with a range of opinions on issues related to Israel’s military response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. On Nov. 30, Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, spoke at a press conference held by the Jewish Community Relations Council to condemn the actions of protestors at a Minnesota State Board of Investments meeting that same day who called for an end to all state investments tied to Israel.
Latz was then criticized — in letter form — by more than one dozen DFL senators for some of his remarks he made at the press conference in response to the BDS protest held at the state Capitol.
While a number of Hortman’s caucus members in the House and DFL allies in the Senate have been outspoken on their views surrounding Israel’s war with Hamas, Hortman has been silent on the matter on Twitter.
Which legislators tweet more, Republicans or Democrats?
Hortman’s announcement that she’ll no longer be on Twitter, which many regard as a meaningful window into activities and opinions of elected leaders at the Capitol, comes as some of her colleagues have gone to the lengths in recent months of deleting their Twitter (X) profiles altogether.
That list includes: DFL representatives Leigh Finke and Jamie Becker-Finn and DFL Sen. Bonnie Westlin. All three have deleted their once regularly utilized Twitter accounts in just the last few months. In Westlin’s case, she at one time had three Twitter accounts.
As recently as last month Westlin took to Twitter to call for Congressman Dean Phillips to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives following his official launch of his presidential campaign to challenge Joe Biden for the Democrat presidential nomination. Finke and Becker-Finn deleted their accounts a few months ago after Finke said the platform had become increasingly toxic towards transgender people since it had been purchased by Elon Musk.
Others who have deleted their accounts over the few years include: Sens. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, and Reps. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, and Jay Xiong, DFL-St. Paul.
But while some legislators have left social media, other legislators are prolific in their willingness to utilize the platform to share their work, glad-hand their political allies or vent about their political frustrations.
On the Republican side of the aisle, the most frequent users (but to a lesser extent) of the platform include: Mary Franson, Karin Housley, Isaac Schultz, Walter Hudson, Pat Garofalo, Julia Coleman, and Jim Nash.
Some legislators who appear to have never used a Twitter/X account while at the Capitol include longtime Republican state Reps. Peggy Scott and Greg Davids. First-term GOP legislators Mike Wiener, Mark Wiens, Jeff Witte, all Republicans, also appear to have never used Twitter. The only current legislator among Democrats at the Capitol who appears to have never used the platform is longtime Rep. Frank Hornstein, of Minneapolis, now in his 11th term in the House.
A spreadsheet tracking Twitter use among all 201 Minnesota legislators can be found here (download):
Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.