Red, White, and Blue Makes Purple

The residents of Minnesota’s Third Congressional District have lived and died with our pro sports teams – specifically the Vikings and Twins – for six decades now.

People in this district can tell you the difference between Pat Neshek (a former Twins sidearm pitcher from Brooklyn Park) and Kent Hrbek (a legendary first baseman from Bloomington). They know that 1970s star running back Chuck Foreman still lives in Eden Prairie, and that former Vikings’ linebacker Chad Greenway makes his home in Wayzata. All are in the district.  

But it is the team colors that I want to focus on today, and the connection between those colors and the Third Congressional District. The Vikings wear purple, as does this district. The Twins wear red, white, and blue, which, when mixed, blend together into purple, just like the Third District.

These Numbers Do Not Lie

To understand the current politics of Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, let’s look at some key historical numbers:

58. This is the number of consecutive years in which a string of four Republicans represented the district in the U.S. House of Representatives. All four (Clark McGregor, Bill Frenzel, Jim Ramstad, and Erik Paulsen) were considered old-school, moderate Republicans.

9. Hillary Clinton carried the Third District by 9 percentage points over Donald Trump in 2016, despite Clinton winning Minnesota statewide by only 1.5 percent. Notwithstanding this, moderate Republican Erik Paulsen easily won his fifth term that same year.

41,563. Just two years into the Trump presidency, newcomer Democrat Dean Phillips (who portrayed himself as a business-oriented moderate) rode an anti-Trump wave to defeat Rep. Paulsen by this many votes in 2018. Paulsen had won two years earlier by some 54,000 votes.

39.4. This is the percentage of Third District voters who filled in President Trump’s oval on their 2020 ballot. Having lost to Hillary Clinton by single digits, he lost to Joe Biden by 19.3 percentage points in this district.

2. Rep. Phillips has won reelection twice, defeating Kendall Qualls in 2020 by 11.3 percent and then swamping Tom Weiler by 19 percentage points in 2022. Both were Trump-focused elections across the country.

23,524. This is the total number of votes Donald Trump received from presidential primary voters in the Third District on March 5, 2024. That was 32 percent of the total votes cast in the district for candidates of all parties. My belief is that the other 68 percent mostly “bid no trump.”

My assessment of these numbers is simple: (a) The majority of voters in the Third District want to vote for a moderate candidate, (b) they do not want to vote for Donald Trump, and (c) they do not believe Trump or anyone who follows him is a moderate. These voters apparently believe that all Trump supporters are extremist, “MAGA Republicans.”

This assessment is one of the reasons why I believe I can win a general election to represent the district in the U.S. House.

How So?

The reason I think my district can be won is straightforward, as well. First, it appears that the Democratic nominee will be Dr. Kelly Morrison, an obstetrician/gynecologist who currently is in her first term in the Minnesota State Senate. She was the lead author of a bill allowing Minnesotans to commit suicide with a physician’s assistance. She also had co-authored Senate Bill 1, which allows abortion in Minnesota up to the point of birth, with no limitations. Dr. Morrison also was a leader of the Democratic majority that in 2023 spent the State of Minnesota’s $17 billion surplus and then added another $10 billion in new spending.

These are anything but moderate positions.

Unlike Dr. Morrison’s emphasis on her “blue” agenda, my focus is much more purple. You also could correctly say I have red, white, and blue priorities. My main concerns in the U.S. Congress will be national security, America’s national borders, the national debt, and the national budget, along with protecting the individual freedoms and free enterprise rights that demonstrate the need for a limited national government.

These are the core issues the moderate, reasonable voters of my district want our federal government to address. People in this district pull for the purple, and for the red, white, and blue.

Those are the team colors I wear.

Quentin R. Wittrock

Responsible. Respected. Rational.

3 thoughts on “Red, White, and Blue Makes Purple”

  1. I still see Trump as a clearly better option than Biden, but agree that in this district (and statewide elections) Trump is the third rail.

    Both sides of this political coin offer up a unique challenge.

    Publicly opposing trump, not endorsing him, or some version of this might mean never making it out of the starting gate. But, endorsing him and being seen as “trump aligned” almost certainly would have negative implications in the general. Unclear if there is a perfect way to really thread that needle. Maybe it’s naïve to think it’s even possible.

    But, I like the idea of trying to highlight the failings of the current regime, their accelerated march towards political extremism and the simple fact that most Americans were better of in 2019 under previous leadership. Possible that this is throwing them enough of a bone, maybe not.

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