The Riots Rattle Minnesota 2020 Politics

“I do think that, particularly if this [rioting] continues, the [congressional] districts like Dean Phillips’ district or Angie Craig’s district that right now I would say are relatively safe for the Democratic incumbent, could be very much in play,” says Mike Erlandson, a former chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Party.

There’s a growing chance that the killing of George Floyd, and the aftermath, will shape Minnesota’s politics going into 2020. 

For one, the death of Floyd probably destroys the chances of Amy Klobuchar to be Joe Biden’s running mate, after it was revealed that her Hennepin County Attorneys office failed to prosecute the offending officer for previous infractions—even though it is not clear yet whether or not Klobuchar as Hennepin County Attorney was justified in doing so.

But the violence, looting, and burning of Minneapolis—which stands in stark contrast to the protests that have occurred—will also likely shape the debate. Democratic leaders in the state, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, were slow to react to the initial rioting. Minneapolis police were even told to allow the looting to occur on the first two nights it happened. Given the ongoing destruction, and the fact that the looters and rioters are part of the Democrats’ base of voters, they may pay a price come November. 

Jennifer Carnahan, chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party, said that Frey and Walz have “failed us all.” “I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” tweeted President Trump.

“I do think that, particularly if this [rioting] continues, the [congressional] districts like Dean Phillips’ district or Angie Craig’s district that right now I would say are relatively safe for the Democratic incumbent, could be very much in play,” says Mike Erlandson, a former chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Party.

Jason Lewis, who has officially received the Republican Party endorsement to take on Democrat Senator Tina Smith in November, is already echoing Chairwoman Carnahan and President Trump’s sentiments.

“The last few days have shown now more than ever, Minnesota needs strong, bold and decisive leadership,” Lewis wrote on Twitter. “And they haven’t been getting it. That fact is painfully evidenced by the past few days,” he said.

On an interview with Fox News, Lewis again echoed this message, saying that Minnesota was in a “state of shock” over the “total absence of leadership” in their cities.

Lewis then accused rioters of denying thousands of Minnesotans the “very due process” denied George Floyd—by destroying neighborhoods and communities.

Lewis said the rioting, and the failure to stop the rioting, was inexcusable: “Everybody was on board and getting to the bottom of that. But Democrats in charge in Minnesota…are now trying to push the blame someplace else? They’re the ones [who] created this powder keg. They’re the ones [who] have been in charge.”