MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After a tumultuous few months for the Minnesota GOP, the party has a new chair.
David Hann won an election Saturday for the job after Jennifer Carnahan was forced out of the role in August.
Hann, a former state Senate minority leader from Eden Prairie, won the final vote over businessman Jerry Dettinger.
“We’re grateful but certainly want to compliment Jerry Dettinger,” Hann said. “Ran a really good campaign and I look forward to working with him.”
That work begins, Hann says, with rebuilding the party to put Republicans in position to win crucial elections next year.
“The staff has been kind of decimated over the last couple months so we’re going to have to have some planning and it’s going to take a little while to get ourselves organized,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of money, but we don’t have much debt. [The debt] we do have is manageable.”
Carnahan’s tenure unraveled quickly, starting with the GOP donor, and her close associate, Anton Lazzaro’s arrest on federal sex-trafficking charges.
Hann says part of his role to is to bring stability to the party.
“We have a reputation of being kind of a raucous group, which we are, which is great, but unfortunately sometimes that gets us distracted from the mission that we have,” he said.
Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin congratulated Hann in a tweet Saturday, saying, “Leading a state political party is one of the toughest, most thankless jobs in politics (but well worth it) – welcome to the club!”
Congratulations to @davidhann on his election today as the new Chair of the @mngop. Leading a state political party is one of the toughest, most thankless jobs in politics (but well worth it) – welcome to the club! #mngop
— Ken Martin (@kenmartin73) October 2, 2021
GOP gubernatorial candidate Paul Gazelka also congratulated the new chairman over Twitter.
— Paul Gazelka (@paulgazelka) October 2, 2021
Hann says he believes the GOP will surprise people in winning some of next year’s elections.
Carnahan told WCCO last month she may eventually run to get her old job back.