There is a new leader of the Minnesota Republican Party.
Jennifer Carnahan was elected as the new chair on Saturday. Carnahan is relatively new to the politics game. She attended her first GOP caucus 14 months ago. Later, she became a GOP delegate.
“Even when I ran to do that, everyone told me, 'You have no chance. You can't just show up at the state convention and give a speech and think you are going to get elected to go to Cleveland,’” she said. “I am not one of those people if you tell me ‘no,’ I am going to say ‘OK’ and turn around and go home.”
Instead, she is the type of person that finds a way to get the job done. The 40-year-old was adopted from South Korea and grew up in Maple Grove.
“It is very exciting when you can break through walls and do things that people weren't expecting you to do and achieve,” she said. “Let me figure out how to get through the wall, jump over it and move forward.”
Carnahan, who has a background in business, said one of her main goals in her new role is to change the perception of the Republican party.
“I want to get people to look at us in a different way and open their hearts and minds to what our values and messages are,” she said. “The perception … I faced it as well when I door knocked last summer, 'How can you be a Republican? How can you as an Asian female be part of a racist and sexist party? My answer back is because we are not a racist and sexist party. We are actually a very inclusive party that wants everyone in life to succeed.”
Carnahan, a former Rubio supporter, has also set a goal to turn the state of Minnesota red. She says that goal is within reach. Except for nine, President Trump won every county in the state of Minnesota during the 2016 presidential election.
“It shows there was a movement going on. Not only in the country but especially in Minnesota. He did fall short in the state. If you look at the map of where he fell short it tends to be in the more concentrated metro areas,” she said. “We have to focus on fundraising and make sure we have a financially strong party for the future. If it doesn't happen, at the very least I have just probably learned something from it. If it does happen it opens a new door of opportunity.”