The Big Story Blog

Minnesota GOP struggles for traction amid crises

Posted at 8:46 AM on December 19, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics

The drumbeat of bad news for Minnesota Republicans has been so consistent the past two weeks, it's hard to remember that the party had been on a huge year-long roll: Historic legislative victories to win control of the Minnesota House and Senate, a successful budget battle against the governor and political momentum that seemed ready to carry them through 2012.

Now, debt and scandal run the discussion.

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GOP party chairman Tony Sutton resigned abruptly two weeks ago amid criticism of his his leadership and a rising party debt.

Then late last week came news that Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch quit her leadership post after being confronted over an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

Republicans are divided whether Koch should resign immediately. While she stepped down as majority leader she has said she'll finish her legislative term as senator.

"Right now Republican activists are very upset, almost sad, depressed," Pat Anderson, a former state auditor who serves on the Republican National Committee, told the Star Tribune. "We are going to have that for awhile."

What happens next? While Republicans retain their numbers and legislative power, do they need to convince the public they're still able to govern?


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.