3rd District

Paulsen frustrated with partisan politics on the Hill

Friday, June 5th, 2009

PaulsenSpeaking on the House floor last night, Rep. Erik Paulsen, D-Minn., said he was surprised at how much partisanship hinders legislative progress on Capitol Hill – especially compared to his experiences in the Minnesota State Legislature. Paulsen, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2008, made the remarks as part of a scheduled opportunity for freshmen Republicans to reflect on their time in Congress.

“I think a lot of being a successful legislator and making yourself a successful state, and now a successful country, is being able to build relationships to get things done and be results-oriented,” Paulsen said. “In the Minnesota Legislature we were always allowed to offer an amendment to a bill as long as it was germane, just as you were mentioning a little while ago. But here in Congress we have to get permission to offer an amendment from the Chair of the Rules Committee or from the Speaker of the House. So it’s a very closed process, and it’s not an open flowing process where I think it’s easier to breed partisanship.”

Earlier in the evening, before giving a speech about the need to support small businesses, Paulsen said, “I think a lot of us, to be honest, are frustrated with the leadership around here that doesn’t necessarily give us the opportunity to offer amendments, to offer change that Washington in particular I think really does need, the American people more than anything really need right now.”

Veterans for Congress: A winning strategy?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Steve Sarvi and Aswhin Madia are joining about a dozen other Iraq and Afghanistan veterans running for Congress this election cycle.

sarviSarvi, who just returned from a deployment to Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard, is running against incumbent Republican John Kline in the Second Congressional District.

Madia, who was a Marine captain working as a lawyer with Iraqi judges and attorneys, is madiarunning for the seat in the Third Congressional District left open by the announced retirement of Republican Jim Ramstad. Both Sarvi and Madia are DFLers.

A closer look at the Sarvi and Madia candidacies can be found here.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is currently the first and only Iraq War vet elected to Congress. Congressional Quarterly recently reported that 15 men and women who have served in the current war are running for the Senate or House in one of the 79 House districts rated as potentially competitive.

What does being a veteran bring to a candidacy?


Ramstad Redux?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

diaz_1.jpgWith the U.S. House contest to replace Jim Ramstad just getting underway, the retiring Minnesota Republican says party leaders have encouraged him to run again.

Ramstad, 61, says he still plans to retire in January, 2009, at the end of his ninth term. But hisramstad chief of staff released a statement acknowledging that “the leadership and many other groups have encouraged him to run.”

The statement, coming in response to an inquiry Tuesday from the Star Tribune, added that “Jim has no plans to seek reelection.”

In a separate statement, the staffer, Dean Peterson, also said that “Jim has been overwhelmed by the huge number of Minnesotans urging him to reconsider, but he has no plans to run to run for re-election.”

Peterson said Wednesday that neither he nor Ramstad would comment further.
Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), acknowledged Ramstad’s account, but said there was no “top-down” effort to keep Ramstad in the race.

“If grassroots Republicans in Minnesota support the idea of Congressman Ramstad running for reelection, then Chairman [Tom] Cole [R-Okla.] seconds that sentiment,” Spain said. “The NRCC trusts local Republicans to decide who they believe would make the best candidate for Congress, not the other way around.”

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., is a member of the NRCC’s executive committee. A Kline spokesman declined to say whether he has been involved in efforts to ask Ramstad to reconsider his retirement, which he announced last month.

Another Republican source in Washington said that, for now, party leaders are operating under the assumption that Ramstad is not running, and they are reaching out to prospective candidates.

Some analysts have noted that while Ramstad’s Third Congressional District in the Twin Cities’ western suburbs is still fairly safe Republican territory, Ramstad’s decision to postpone his retirement could save the cash-strapped Republican congressional committee as much as $1 million to defend the seat, a factor that could be huge in a tough presidential election year.

What do you think? Should Jim Ramstad, a political moderate who says he’s “burned out” from the weekly Washington commute, stick around for the sake of his party?

Battleground Suburbia: Edina mayor shifts parties, may run for Ramstad’s seat

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Jim Hovland, the mayor of Edina, is a good example of the conflicted political nature of the metro area’s western suburbs. A long-time Republican, he is not shy about expressing hishovland.jpg frustrations over what he sees as the extreme nature of the current Republican party, calling it “a marching progression to a more consolidated base and a smaller party.”

Hovland supports abortion rights and is an advocate of mass transit.

He’s also thinking about running for Congress to replace Jim Ramstad, who has announced plans to retire after nine terms in Congress.

And if Hovland runs, he’ll be running as a Democrat.

Much to his surprise, Hovland was invited to a get-together with members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Fourth District Congresswoman Betty McCollum and her chief of staff. They laid out some of the complexities of a potential congressional run in the rapidly changing Third District and what the DCCC could and could not do to help him.

“For years, I would characterize myself as a moderate-type Republican,” Hovland explained. “Over time, I felt like the Republican Party had moved farther and farther away from my philosophical beliefs. I find myself consistently philosophically aligning myself with Democrats,” said Hovland, a lawyer who has been on the Edina City Council for 11 years and mayor for the last three.


Paulsen is … in … sort of.

Friday, September 28th, 2007

State Representative Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) announced today that he will actively explore a run for Congress in Minnesota’s Third District and will form a federal campaign committee next week.

“I have received an outpouring of encouragement to run for the Third District seat,” said the former Majority Leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives. “I want to take the necessary steps to consider this race seriously. Forming a campaign committee is the next step.”

“Like all residents of the Third District, I was surprised by Congressman Ramstad’s decision last week to retire,” added Paulsen, who served as Ramstad’s district director prior to his state legislative service. “Jim’s leadership and voice of reason on so many issues will be missed by the people of the Third District. The Third’s next member of Congress should continue this tradition of effective, common-sense representation.”

Paulsen, 42, has been a member of the Minnesota House since 1995, and served as its majority leader from 2003 through 2006. He is married and has four children.

Michel is …. out in the 3rd District race

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

This just in from Sen. Geoff Michel. Are the skids being greased for Erik Paulsen?



September 26, 2007

Last week a great Congressman announced that he would not run for reelection next year. Jim Ramstad has been a role model public servant. Minnesota and the Third Congressional District are fortunate to have benefited from more than two decades of his time and energy. Jim had big shoes to fill: he took the torch passed to him by Bill Frenzel and served with skill and grace.
I’m proud to have worked closely with both Frenzel and Ramstad and consider each of them a mentor.

Today I am sharing with friends and supporters that I will not seek the 3rd District Congressional seat next year. After giving this serious thought, I have concluded that Congress is broken and the lifestyle of a member of Congress is unappealing.

It would be worth the effort if Congress was an institution that was working well. It is not. The life of a member of Congress is now perpetual campaigning, countless hours on the phone raising money, and incessant travel. Members of Congress seem very busy doing everything but the actual work of the people. I have four young daughters and a wonderful wife.

Trading soccer games, piano recitals and dinners at home for frequent flyer miles and long distance phone cards feels selfish to me.

Congress is even less popular than the President. Spending and earmarks are out of control. We see no solutions and very little debate about the important issues of today, including health care, immigration, and the environment. Is Congress preparing us for the retirement of the baby boomers and the need for entitlement reforms? Clearly the answer is no.

In contrast, state governments, governors and legislatures are moving on all of these issues. I am much more optimistic that Minnesota will be engaged and lead on these issues – even with our divided government. The issues that I have a passion for, lower taxes and efficient spending, education, the University of Minnesota, transportation and the environment are getting
attention and action right here in Saint Paul. I want to focus my time and energy where government and elected officials can get things done.

Brian Sullivan is …. out

Monday, September 24th, 2007

This just in from Brian Sullivan

From: Brian Sullivan
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2007 12:35 PM
To: Brian Sullivan
Subject: Announcement Regarding the Third District Congressional Race

Dear Friends,

When Jim Ramstad announced his decision not to run for re-election as the Third District Congressman, I received many calls encouraging me to seek the Republican nomination, and I agreed to consider doing so. I appreciate the trust many of you have shown in me by asking me to get into this race. It would be an honor to serve the Third District as its Representative in the U.S. Congress. However, the timing is not right for my family or me. As a result, I have decided not to enter the race to replace Jim Ramstad as Minnesota’s Third District Congressman.

Mia and I had a third daughter this past April, and I acquired another business in May. It is simply not possible for me to disengage from either my family or my businesses at this time to run for this office.

I will continue to serve as Minnesota’s Republican National Committeeman, and I will work hard to elect a Republican congressman in the Third District.

Jim Ramstad has served our state and our country well these past 17 years as our Third District Congressman. He deserves our gratitude for his selfless commitment to public service. Our family wishes him all the best.

Best Regards,


Republican National Committeeman – Minnesota
Chairman and CEO, SterilMed, Inc.

In or out?

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Since the last posting, potential candidates to fill the Third District Congressional seat being vacated by Jim Ramstad have come forward and dropped off. Jeff Johnson, one name that was mentioned almost immediately, is …. out. He wrote this letter to supporters in an e-mail:

Dear fellow Hennepin County Republicans:

As some of you might have seen, my name has been mentioned in several sources as a possible candidate to fill Jim Ramstad’s seat in Congress. I’ve received many encouraging calls the past three days about this potential race and appreciate the trust many of you have in me.

I want to confirm for everyone, however, that I am not running for Congress. I announced this spring that I was seeking the Republican endorsement for Penny Steele’s open Hennepin County Board seat next year and I remain committed to that race.

I have spent the past four months making hundreds of calls to delegates and alternates in Hennepin County and feel great about the level of support I have in the county board race. I intend to continue an aggressive campaign for the endorsement as I believe it’s important for Republicans to unite behind a conservative candidate and work together to insure victory next November.

Thank you for your support and please feel free to call or email me if you would like to talk. You can reach ….. email me at jeffjohnson@Meresources.net.


Some other names that we’ve confirmed are …. out, include Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, who said in an email that he is focused on his job as sheriff.

AN UPDATE: turns out you might be able to focus on a few things at one time. A representative for Rich Stanek calls to inform that he continues to “deliberate” about running. So that means he is not … out. But he isn’t …. in.

When we asked Stanek’s office about his position we got this this email back on 9/17. You read into it what you may:

Rich Stanek is focused on his work as Sheriff of Hennepin County.

Congressman Ramstad and his wife, Kathryn, have been close, personal friends for many years and Sheriff Stanek wishes them the very best for their

Congressman Ramstad’s unwavering support of law enforcement professionals throughout Minnesota and the nation is greatly appreciated and Sheriff
Stanek looks forward to the Congressman’s continued support on public safety issues affecting Hennepin County.

Another on the no list is House Taxes Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, a DFLer from Bloomington.

The list remains fluid and this is by no means definitive or comprehensive or final. Keep watching

List of possible Ramstad replacements already long, likely to grow

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

The prospect of an open congressional seat in Minnesota’s Third District had many potential replacements salivating Monday while others demurred to express interest for a later date.

For potential hopefuls in the Legislature, the prospect of running for the seat Jim Ramstad will vacate next year represents an interesting numbers game. House members, for instance, could face losing their jobs if they run for Congress in November 2008. State senators are not up for re-election until 2010.

Ramstad’s announcement took many by surprise, leaving potential candidates to quickly call spouses to get the okay to even think about running.


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