Minnesota Women Step Into U.S. Congressional Campaigns at Women Winning Event

"Diversity in Politics" coverage is made possible by Women Winning and Vote Run Lead.

At the annual Wine, Chocolate, and Choice event hosted by Women Winning on March 7, several women running for U.S. Congressional offices spoke briefly about why they are running and why they need support from Minnesotans.

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig spoke via video about the challenges she faces in her 2024 campaign for District 2 in the region mostly south of the Twin Cities

DFL Rep. Angie Craig, who has represented Minnesota’s District 2 in the U.S. Congress since 2019, has been a particular target of GOP efforts to flip that seat. In the 2022 election, the district was the fifth most expensive in the country, she said, with an estimated $30 million in outside money spent, making it the most expensive campaign in Minnesota history.

Craig is an open lesbian living with her wife in a suburban and rural district south of the Twin Cities that includes Eagan, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Lakeville, New Prague, Prior Lake, Elko, Northfield, Shakopee, and that borders Saint Peter, Chaska, Belle Plaine, and Henderson. She is the first openly lesbian mother to be elected to Congress and the first woman to be elected in that district.

Since the Women Winning event was concurrent with President Biden’s State of the Union address in D.C., Rep. Craig delivered her comments via video. She said that Congressional District 2 has been in Republican hands for 70 of the last 82 years. “This is not a safe seat.” What has thus far given her a margin to win have been voters in her district who believe in reproductive choice.

Women’s healthcare is the centerpiece of Women Winning-endorsed candidacies. Another voice at the event was Minnesota Senator Kelly Morrison, who is now running for U.S. Congressional District 3, formerly held by Dean Phillips, who stepped away to run against President Biden (and recently left the campaign).

Morrison first ran for office in 2018, inspired by her concerns about the election of Donald Trump. She was elected in formerly GOP-held districts to the Minnesota House, and then the Minnesota Senate. She is an obstetrician gynecologist who believes women have the right to make their own health care decisions. At the event, she said that District 3 is a purple district “and I am going to work my tail off to hold that seat. We have to hold that seat so that we can [help to] flip the U.S. House. … All the progress we made to protect our rights will be for naught if we don’t flip the U.S. House, and hold the Minnesota House.”

District 3 includes counties to the north, south, and west of Minneapolis, including Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, Bloomington, Maple Grove, Edina, Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and Wayzata.

Jen Schultz at the Women Winning event talked about why she is running against Republican Pete Stauber to represent northern District 8

Jen Schultz, who lives in Duluth, represented northeastern Minnesota in the House from 2015 to 2023, and is running to try to defeat GOP incumbent Pete Stauber for Minnesota’s 8th District in the U.S. House. In her comments she pointed out that Stauber is anti-choice, co-sponsor of a bill that would make IVF illegal, and has voted against access to birth control. He gave early endorsement to Trump for the 2024 Presidential campaign, and signed on to the lawsuit attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

District 8 covers a third of the state, in the north, including Lake of the Woods, Bemidji, Brainerd, to Stillwater.

“You know what’s at stake — our freedoms, our rights, and our democracy. My mother, who fought for women’s rights in the 1970s, she cannot believe that we’re back fighting. … We must use our power to unite and fight for our rights to make our own choices about our bodies, for reproductive health, for rights to vote, for our rights to marry who you love, for the right to read any book we want. That’s what’s at stake.”

Rachel Bohman recently stepped up to represent southern District 1 in the U.S. Congress

Rachel Bohman of Rochester, who served on its township board until 2022, recently announced her campaign to run in District 1 against GOP incumbent Brad Finstad. Finstad and his wife co-founded a pro-life pregnancy center in New Ulm. “No woman has ever won in that district before. I’ve got a whole lot of doctors there who are not real happy about IVF rulings and are pretty concerned about choice. They’re ready to fight. … I could be the first Congresswoman in that district to represent Minnesota.”

District 1 borders South Dakota and Wisconsin, in a largely agricultural region that includes Rochester, Mankato, Winona, Austin, Owatonna, Albert Lea, Red Wing, Worthington, and Lake City.