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Looking for a Republican suburban woman: Why not Ortman?

MinnPost photo by James Nord
Sen. Julianne Ortman: “the ideal candidate — a female from the suburbs”?

MinnPost ran a story last week on prospective GOP candidates for Governor.  Of note in that story was a quote from prominent Republican operative Ben Golnik lamenting the fact that “the ideal candidate — a female from the suburbs” wasn’t out there.  As such, I found it interesting that the name of State Senator Julianne Ortman didn’t come up.  Ortman’s resume — in the Senate over a decade, former Deputy Majority Leader, a caucus leader on tax and legal issues — stacks up comparably against many of the other named contenders.  And she’s one of the Senate GOP’s better communicators, as evidenced by her continuing high profile despite not holding a formal leadership position anymore.

I have no idea if Ortman is interested in higher office — perhaps she’s signaled she’s not, which is why she didn’t make this piece.  But it seems that for many, the list of women available for statewide runs in the Minnesota Republican Party ends with Laura Brod now that Amy Koch is out of the Senate.

Given that the current list of prospective candidates all have significant question marks as it relates to their ability to either earn the Republican endorsement or win a general election — Sen. Dave Thompson might be too conservative for a statewide election, Rep. Kurt Zellers was widely criticized for his leadership (or lack thereof) last session as Speaker of the House, Sen. David Hann was an also-ran in the 2010 race for Governor, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek has perhaps spent too much time on gun issues for the base’s liking, and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has already lost one statewide race (Attorney General in 2006) — it seems maybe the list of usual suspects should be expanded.  But, of course, I doubt the Republicans are looking to me for advice.

Here are some other things happening in the community:

  • In case you haven’t already heard, two new restaurants opened in Chaska in the last week or so:  BullChicks in Chaska Commons, and Egg & Pie Diner in downtown.  I’m hearing positive word-of-mouth on both.
  • The two facility taskforces convened by the Eastern Carver County School District continue to make progress.  The High School taskforce is wrestling with the question of balancing programming and demographics between Chaska and Chanhassen High Schools.  Meanwhile, the Early Childhood through Middle School task force is working on finding the best way to deal with overcrowded schools on the west side of the District as well as finding a permanent home for the La Academia Spanish immersion program.  I am a member of the Early Childhood through Middle School task force  and I can attest to the difficult challenges that lie ahead here.  Over the next few months, there will be opportunities for public input on potential changes — I encourage you to keep your eyes open and attend those sessions when they occur.

This post was written by Sean Olsen and originally published on Brick City Blog. Follow Sean on Twitter: @sean_olsen

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/04/2013 - 03:42 pm.


    She has the same liabilities as all the Republican leaders. She’s a one trick pony, cut taxes and wait for the magic to happen. And she chaired he committee that put the voter restriction amendment on the ballot. Not only that, but she voted against the light rail expansion funding that you people out in Chaska want so badly.

    • Submitted by Jim Sanborn on 04/05/2013 - 01:12 pm.


      Senator Ortman was the Chair of the Tax Committee. SF509 did not go through the Tax Committee. It did go through the Judiciary and the Rules Committees, where Senator Ortman did vote for it, but she was not the Chair of either.

  2. Submitted by Sean Olsen on 04/04/2013 - 04:15 pm.

    The post is not meant as an endorsement of Ortman.

    The larger point of the post is that for no women to be among the commonly mentioned GOP candidates for governor represents a lack of imagination among Republican operatives.

    Regardless of what one thinks about Ortman’s ideology, her legislative history and credentials are comparable to the male prospective GOP candidates mentioned in the original article, and she could credibly be a better candidate than some in that article.

    That’s the point — and one that could be applied to others as well — like, say, Rhonda Sivarajah.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/05/2013 - 10:12 am.

    Point taken

    I see you point. I agree, she could be a stronger candidate than some of the others under consideration. However the larger larger point may be that the Republicans problem is much bigger than a “branding” issue. Putting a woman on the ballot doesn’t necessarily demonstrate imagination or flexibility. I have no idea who Rhonda Sivarajah is.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/05/2013 - 08:58 pm.

    I stand corrected

    Thanks Jim Sandborn. My apologies to all for getting that wrong.

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