Can the Minnesota Republican Party Hold on to Non-Republican Voters Who Voted for Donald Trump?

By Brucato, Cyndy | MinnPost.com, December 2, 2016 | Go to article overview

Can the Minnesota Republican Party Hold on to Non-Republican Voters Who Voted for Donald Trump?


Brucato, Cyndy, MinnPost.com


Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack believes his Democratic party has a problem. Democrats lost this election cycle, he says, because they neglected the rural voter.

The Minnesota Republican party has the problem in reverse. How does it hold on to the non-metro, non-Republican voters who voted for Donald Trump, which almost allowed him to defeat Hillary Clinton in the state?

The party's Republican national committeewoman Janet Beihoffer maintains there's real opportunity given Trump's showing and the GOP legislative victories that give the party control of the state House and Senate. "The overall deal can be capitalized on because we did flip the Senate and we did increase [the Republican majority in] the House," she said.

The prospects are especially tantalizing for 2018, when the there's an open seat for governor. "Do we get someone who runs for governor who understands why those people voted for Trump?" Beihoffer wonders.

Statistically, the Republican party can determine who those voters are. MinnPost reporter Greta Kaul has a good breakdown of where they live and how they have voted in the past. The party can look at other voting patterns to determine whether the voters who gave Clinton the edge will show up in a non-presidential election year.

But the party will need more than data. It will need a candidate that can talk about goals and objectives in a way that resonates. Jobs, the increase of health insurance premiums, and education likely still will be top issues. But a suburban voter's concern is different from a rural voter's. …

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