Trump-y? Trump-ier? Or Trump-iest? For some Republican voters, Election 2022 comes down to candidate’s measurement on the ‘Trump-o-meter’…

By Louis Hoglund

For the first time this century—maybe the last century, too­­—Republicans are faced with an inner-party election choice. 

Political newcomer Nathan Miller, Battle Lake, is launching a primary election challenge to Jordan Rasmusson for the new State Senate District 9 seat. 

In this new political landscape, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that a candidate would find a place to the right of an already right-positioned Republican. The surprise locally: For most of the region’s history, area Republicans have followed an unwritten protocol to nominate seated legislators in relative peace and harmony. 

Though neither candidate has been out campaigning with Trump references, the former U.S. president has been an underlying factor in the number of Republican-on-Republican primary challenges taking shape nationally and statewide. 

For some present-day Republican voters, election 2022 comes down to a candidate measurement: “Trump-y; Trump-ier, or Trump-iest.” 

While Miller has no mention of Trump on his website or in correspondence to the Press, his supporters are voicing Trump themes. Some have also cast social media aspersions on Rasmusson that would have been easily disregarded—in previous political climates.

Rasmusson, by almost all conventional measures, has had a productive and district-centered record as a first-term Minnesota State House member. Fergus Falls native Rasmusson is a conservative who finds himself facing a move to “out-conservative” him and out-flank him—to his right.

Oddly, Rasmusson is a guy who has only been in office less than two years. Yet he is being portrayed by some as an entrenched, establishment “insider.” 

Miller voices intent to run primary for State Sen.

Nathan Miller

“I am moving forward with the primary race,” confirmed Miller, who appears to be backed by a loose faction within the party, including a group identifying itself as the Otter Tail County Conservative Coalition. Miller, and all candidates, have from May 17 to May 31 to officially file for the primary, which will be August 9. 

But for now—Miller’s intentions to file for office appear obvious. 

“My run for Senate has no self-serving or self-validating undertones. I’ve grown weary of highly educated, highly connected and highly compensated individuals who believe they know what is best for all of us which results in the destruction of the American dream for Minnesotans,” wrote Miller in a statement to the Pelican Rapids Press. 

Neither Miller nor Rasmusson are publicly mentioning one another by name, at this point of the campaign. 

“I am convinced many of us in Western Minnesota have had enough crony capitalism, go along to get along politics, and political science graduates to finally make real change,” continued Miller. “We need to be a people who are more concerned with our communities, county and country rather than social media, social programs and social justice.”

“I am running on Constitutional conviction, commonsense and Christian principles,” stated Miller. 

Rasmusson touts support of business, local roots 

Jordan Rasmusson

Rasmusson’s positions are in large part similar to Miller’s.

“Minnesota is at a crossroads. Now more than ever, we need leaders at the State Capitol who will focus on controlling state spending and taxes, protecting life and our Second Amendment freedoms, and supporting farmers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. The values I learned as the 6th generation of my family to live in Otter Tail County taught me the importance of hard work, integrity, faith, and family. I look forward to carrying those values to the Minnesota Senate and working hard every day to defend and enhance our Greater Minnesota way of life.”

Pro-life, pro-gun positions similar for both

On most policy matters, the two are of similar mind—tight state budgets and lower income taxes, among them. Another is their anti-abortion positions. 

This week, the Political Action Committee (PAC) for Minnesota’s largest pro-life organization, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), endorsed Rasmusson. The endorsement is a result of Rasmusson’s 100 percent pro-life voting record and his proven commitment to the pro-life cause.

One difference between the two: Miller openly holsters a handgun “almost everywhere I go.” Rasmusson, to our knowledge, doesn’t—concealed or unconcealed. 

Both are busy fellows.

Rasmusson and the House of Representatives are wrapping up a legislative session, full of contentious issues. 

Miller, meanwhile, is working the night shift in a boiler room in Alexandria. “Gotta pay the bills, so I keep working my trade, and I plan to continue even after I am elected,” stated Miller. 

One of Miller’s cornerstones is election integrity. Voter ID and paper ballots “are a must.” He leaves little doubt about his view that the 2020 election was “stolen.” “If our elections are not safe and secure, the 2020 election is bound to repeat itself…without fraudulent-free elections, we essentially lose our republic.”

Some Republicans from the “Conservative Coalition” have suggested improprieties at the Republican precinct caucus level, which have been disproven. State Republican parties were on hand for the endorsing convention and reportedly issued a clean bill of health to the process. 

Rasmusson defeated Miller on the first ballot—with 64 percent of the delegates.

Miller’s past comments and his website statements suggest concerns that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” Rasmusson doesn’t appear to have weighed in publicly on the topic, at least not yet. 

Rasmusson’s endorsed by most Republicans

“I am proud to run with the Republican Party’s endorsement, having won the backing of conservative grassroots supporters from across the district,” stated Rasmusson. 

Miller, meanwhile, defines his candidacy as a “grassroots” movement.

“The sleeping giant is awake, not ‘woke’, we the people are awake and ready to return our country to a place of decency, virtue and individual responsibility,” stated Miller to the Press. “I am running to shrink government, regulation, and bureaucracy which will result in the growth of individual liberty, personal wealth, and strong families. “