MN GOP Chair Candidates Announcing Intent to Run

A meeting of the State Central Committee will convene on Saturday, October 2, for the express purpose of electing a new state party chair to fill the remainder of Jennifer Carnahan’s term.  The timing of the SCC Meeting is in accordance with the MN GOP constitution, which stipulates that an election must occur within 45 day after the chair position becomes vacant.

This period will allow applicants interested in running for Chair to come forward, be interviewed by a Nominating Committee made up of Congressional District chairs or their designated representatives.


Four candidates have declared for the Chair position,.

  • Jerry Dettinger, founder/CEO of Torque Fitness and Republican donor
  • David Hann, former MN Senate Minority Leader (R, Eden Prairie)
  • Forrest Hyatt, former 2020 candidate for Republican endorsement for US Senate, from Brainerd area
  • Jim Newberger, a former State Representative (R, Becker) and endorsed Republican candidate for US Senate in 2018[]

At least one more may announce their intention

  • Kelly Fenton, former MN GOP Deputy Chair and former State Representative (R, Woodbury)

State Senator Mark Koran (R, North Branch), who challenged Carnahan this spring for the party chair position, announced on August 23 that he would not be a candidate for chair at the October meeting. 

“Many things have changed for me since the last race. I’ve ascended to a couple hard-earned key leadership positions in the MN Senate,” Koran stated. “One specifically is the chair of the Legislative Audit Commission.  Weighing what’s best for MN and the MNGOP, I’ve decided that I will not be entering the MNGOP Chair race.”

Senate District 49 has invited the declared chair candidates to the upcoming Pints & Politics event on September 13 to give us a chance to meet them. 

SD49 has four (4) delegate slots on the State Central Committee. The meeting on October 2 will be held in person at the Hopkins Art Center, Hopkins MN.