HomeTop StoriesHaley's strength in metro leaves questions for Trump, Minnesota GOP

Haley’s strength in metro leaves questions for Trump, Minnesota GOP

Republican presidential primaries showed a vote split between greater Minnesota and the metro on Tuesday.

Donald Trump It is almost certain that he will become the Republican candidate, but in Minnesota, the places where the former governor of South Carolina lived. Nikki Haley had a strong showing in Tuesday’s Republican primaries, where Trump could be in trouble. Haley took decisive action against suburban voters, independents and moderate Republicans who had been ousted by Trump. She received more than 97,000 votes — nearly 29% of the Republican Party’s primary — and was the best performer in the metro.

“It’s no surprise that Nikki Haley did well in areas where Republicans were struggling,” said Amy Koch, a former Republican senator who served as majority leader. “We dropped a lot of suburban districts. Yet we have grown again in greater Minnesota.”

“Haley was definitely a metro candidate,” said Steven Schier, professor emeritus of political science at Carleton College. But there are not nearly as many moderate Republicans in the suburbs as there once were, he said — just as there are fewer Democrats in greater Minnesota. For educated moderates from the suburbs who didn’t like Trump in 2016 and 2020, his presence at the top of the ticket could be a barrier for Republicans on the ballot, even if they are more moderate themselves.

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“It’s not at all clear that you can separate yourself in the suburbs and central cities from Trump and some of the unpleasant aspects of Trump in order to survive,” Schier said.

But that’s what Republicans will try to do to win state House races this fall, said House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring.

Demuth said she thinks Republicans can gain ground and unite disparate factions if they continue to focus on Minnesota issues, especially sweeping Democratic policies enacted during the 2023 legislative session that Republicans have decried as overkill .

“We’re really going to work to bring all corners of our party together and provide that outreach to independents and Democrats who are willing to look at what’s happened to our state and restore balance,” Demuth saddened.

“When you really show up at the door, people want to know about state issues,” said Rep. Krista Robbins, R-Maple Grove, who served as Minnesota chair for Haley’s campaign. She thinks voters will separate local races and issues from the presidential election.

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Trump’s jackets helped Minnesota Republicans in 2016, Koch said, but “in ’18, ’20 and ’22 he was an absolute drag. What we saw in Minnesota was the [DFL] trifecta as a result.”

“He will be very helpful in some districts,” Koch said, especially in DFL-held seats on the Iron Range and in western Minnesota. But Trump may not help win back suburban districts, Koch said.

Even higher turnout for the Republican primaries felt like good news for the Republican Party, Koch said.

“I would feel a lot better in the Trump camp than I would in the Biden camp,” she said. “It’s not a slam dunk by any means, but it’s definitely momentum on Trump’s side right now, and that will definitely impact the down vote.”

Demut agreed. “I’m quite encouraged by the strong turnout on the Republican side.”

But Koch said she wonders what the people who voted for Haley in the primary will do in November.

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‘Are they coming home? Not true?’ she asked.

Trump will need those voters to have any hope of winning Minnesota, which hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since 1972. And Republicans trying to win back the House of Representatives are wondering how suburban voters will react in the swing districts on the far fringes of Congress. Twin cities.

“There is a lot of volatility here. There are a lot of people who oppose the choice,” Schier said between Trump and Biden. “That does add an element of unpredictability.”

If a better-known third-party candidate, like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., qualifies for the ballot in the general election, Schier says, that will introduce a new level of unpredictability.

“I don’t put money aside anywhere,” he said.

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