Minnesota’s GOP Senate caucus already targeting 2016 races

MinnPost file photo by Briana Bierschbach
Senate Minority Leader David Hann: “Our state has drifted to become more center left than center right, which is where I think we are.”

Even though the Minnesota Senate isn’t up for re-election for two years, the Republican caucus, which enjoyed a brief moment in the majority, is doing more than warming the bench.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann, for example, took advantage of the critical mass of activists at the Republicans’ Rochester state convention to do some one-on-one research on districts the GOP hopes to regain in 2016.

“We’ve been working on building some local infrastructure,” Hann told me after a meeting with delegates from Senate District 49, a seat currently held by DFL Sen. Melisa Franzen of Edina.

DFL representation of the district is a particularly sore spot for Republicans. State Rep. Ron Erhardt, who at one time represented the district as a Republican, re-won the seat in 2012 running as a Democrat. Franzen, meanwhile, defeated former state Rep. Keith Downey, who now heads the state Republican Party.

It’s not a personal battle, though. Hann said it’s a question of restoring political balance, given the DFL’s control of the House, Senate and governor’s office.

That situation, he said, has led to policies that don’t reflect the true political leaning of Minnesota voters.

“Our state has drifted to become more center left than center right, which is where I think we are,” Hann said.

Senate Republicans are targeting a dozen districts, many in the Twin Cities suburbs, which they consider winnable in 2016.

They’re engaging in open opposition research, as in Senate District 49. Hann said he asked delegates from the district, “What was the perception of [Franzen] locally? What do people think about her?”

The Senate caucus is building voter lists, identifying possible candidates and learning what voters want from their candidates, information that Hann said his team will share with House campaigners.

“Building in ’14 pays off in ’16,” he said.

And, of course, there will be fundraising, but Hann says the Senate will step aside for current House efforts.

“We say to donors, ‘If you’re going to write only one check this year, write it to the House,’ ” he said. “ ‘Just remember us when the time comes.’ ”

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 06/09/2014 - 09:22 am.

    Ummm, Research?

    Hann asks delegates to the Republican state convention what the perception of a Democrat is. I wonder what the response was?

  2. Submitted by Ron Lietz on 06/09/2014 - 09:37 am.

    Hann Article

    I can assure you that Senator Hann takes it very personally that Senate District 49, which is a seat that is currently held by DFL— Sen. Melisa Franzen of Edina.

    Perhaps, the good Senator should pay more attention to the Usury being charged by his Pay Day Loan pals than in defeating Democrats. Oh, I probably forgot to mention that Senator Hann and many other Republicans took a very large donation for the Pay Day Loan lobby.

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/09/2014 - 09:50 am.

    Targets

    “Senate Republicans are targeting a dozen districts, many in the Twin Cities suburbs, which they consider winnable in 2016.”

    Which districts are they?

  4. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/09/2014 - 10:03 am.

    They can do it IF

    and it’s a pretty big “if,” tea party influence is held in check and they find a reasonably sane and socially moderate candidate. Judging by this year’s rush to the right, after the “2012 Autopsy” and the abjurations of everyone from Bobby Jindahl to Carl Rove, there’re a lot of light bulbs that’ll have to go off in the meantime.

  5. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 06/09/2014 - 11:34 am.

    If Hann wants to know

    What people in Senate district 49 don’t like about Republican candidates, he should just look in the mirror.

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