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Republican

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R)

Erik Paulsen Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-2871

Address: 127 CHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (952) 405-8510

Address: 250 Prairie Center Drive, Eden Prairie MN 55344-7904

Erik Paulsen Staff
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Gallivan, Matt
Legislative Assistant
Huff, Ryan
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Gallivan, Matt
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Stober, Michael
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Huff, Ryan
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Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Larson, David
Legislative Correspondent
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Huff, Ryan
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Gallivan, Matt
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Larson, David
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Stober, Michael
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Gallivan, Matt
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Gallivan, Matt
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Stober, Michael
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Huff, Ryan
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Stober, Michael
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Stober, Michael
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Gallivan, Matt
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Huff, Ryan
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Stober, Michael
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Stober, Michael
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Gallivan, Matt
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Gallivan, Matt
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Gallivan, Matt
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Huff, Ryan
Legislative Assistant
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Gallivan, Matt
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Larson, David
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Huff, Ryan
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Gallivan, Matt
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Gallivan, Matt
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Huff, Ryan
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Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Gallivan, Matt
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Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Huff, Ryan
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Larson, David
Legislative Correspondent
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Gallivan, Matt
Legislative Assistant
Gallivan, Matt
Legislative Assistant
Huff, Ryan
Legislative Assistant
Huff, Ryan
Legislative Assistant
Gallivan, Matt
Legislative Assistant
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Gallivan, Matt
Legislative Assistant
Larson, David
Legislative Correspondent
Larson, David
Legislative Correspondent
Gallivan, Matt
Legislative Assistant
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Larson, David
Legislative Correspondent
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Huff, Ryan
Legislative Assistant
Stober, Michael
Legislative Director
Gallivan, Matt
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Gallivan, Matt
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Cavanaugh, Margaret
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Coleman, Jake
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Commers, Kelli
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Esau, Laurie
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Gallivan, Matt
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Griffin, Drew
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Erik Paulsen Committees
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Erik Paulsen Biography
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  • Elected: 2008, 3rd term.
  • District: Minnesota 3
  • Born: May. 14, 1965, Bakersfield, CA
  • Home: Eden Prairie
  • Education:

    St. Olaf Col., B.A. 1987

  • Professional Career:

    Marketing analyst, Target Corp.

  • Political Career:

    MN House, 1995-2008, Majority ldr., 2002-06.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Lutheran

  • Family: Married (Kelly); 4 children

Republican Erik Paulsen was first elected in 2008 to succeed his retiring former boss, GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad. Paulsen is a serious-minded Republican who concentrates on boosting Minnesota businesses. Read More

Republican Erik Paulsen was first elected in 2008 to succeed his retiring former boss, GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad. Paulsen is a serious-minded Republican who concentrates on boosting Minnesota businesses.

Raised in the Twin City suburbs, Paulsen was the oldest of four children. He attended nearby St. Olaf College, where he met his wife, Kelly, in a math class. After graduation, Paulsen followed a lifelong dream to work for a summer in Yellowstone National Park, and then returned to the Twin Cities to begin a career in marketing. He later took a job in Ramstad’s Washington office, where he worked for a year and a half before returning to Minnesota as the director of Ramstad’s district office. In 1995, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, rising to majority leader in 2003. He was a leading supporter of Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s no-new-taxes policy. While in the legislature, Paulsen also worked as a business analyst for the Minneapolis-based Target Corp.

In early 2008, Paulsen faced no competition for the nomination and got an early fundraising lead. Democratic newcomer Ashwin Madia, an Iraq war veteran, was his opponent in the general election. Madia had upset better-known state Sen. Terri Bonoff to secure the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nomination, and he soon pulled even with Paulsen in the polls, making it a very competitive contest. At the Republican National Convention in September in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Paulsen was given a speaking role and called himself “one of a new generation of Republican reformers.” On the stump, he emphasized his differences with Madia on taxes, contrasting his support for making the Bush-era tax cuts permanent with Madia’s position allowing them to expire for people with annual incomes over $250,000.

The campaign turned highly negative. The Democrats ran ads that attempted to link Paulsen to a Republican fundraiser at a Las Vegas strip club. Paulsen parried with ads accusing Madia of lying about his voting record. Republicans ran an ad in the final days of the campaign that the Madia camp said deliberately depicted Madia’s skin tone as darker than it is. Madia is of Indian descent. The two candidates were neck and neck in fundraising, each raising about $2.7 million. A third candidate, businessman David Dillon, ran as an independent. Paulsen emerged the winner, with 48% to Madia’s 41%. Dillon picked up a respectable 11%, drawing support in areas where Madia should have been strong. Even as Obama won the district that fall by 6 percentage points, Paulsen got strong support in Bloomington and Coon Rapids to ward off the national Democratic wave.

In the House, Paulsen has been a fairly reliable Republican vote, showing sufficient loyalty to snag a prized seat on the Ways and Means Committee in 2011. He quickly introduced a bill to repeal the medical device tax that was passed as part of the 2010 health care overhaul, calling it “a tax on innovation” that hurt several Minnesota companies. The measure passed the House in June 2012, but it went nowhere in the Democratically-controlled Senate and he promised to try again in 2013. A devout free trade enthusiast, he co-chaired an informal GOP working group on trade with Korea and said he was encouraged by the bipartisan votes on trade deals. “Our constituents expect us to be results-oriented,” he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He introduced a bill in April 2011 allowing state courts to work with the Internal Revenue Service to intercept tax refunds due to criminals who owe restitution to victims or have outstanding court fees. Paulsen also opposed the New Year’s Day 2013 budget compromise aimed at averting the so-called “fiscal cliff,” saying it failed to significantly rein in government spending.

Earlier, Paulsen served on the House Financial Services Committee, where he tried without success in November 2009 to get the committee to strip the Treasury Department of the power to extend the Wall Street bailout program for another year. He got an amendment added to a small-business financing bill that passed the House in October 2009 to help medical technology startups, which he said face steep initial costs. He showed some independence by joining with Democrats on expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a credit card overhaul bill and a measure giving the Food and Drug Administration oversight over tobacco products. He also backed a measure adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal government’s hate crimes statutes.

Heading into the 2010 election, Paulsen raised more than $2.6 million, with his former employer Target leading the way in donations. He easily beat Democrat Jim Meffert with 59% of the vote. In 2012, he beat Democrat Brian Barnes with 58% of the vote.

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Erik Paulsen Election Results
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2012 General
Erik Paulsen (R)
Votes: 222,335
Percent: 58.16%
Brian Barnes (DFL)
Votes: 159,937
Percent: 41.84%
2012 Primary
Erik Paulsen (R)
Votes: 18,672
Percent: 90.19%
John Howard (R)
Votes: 2,032
Percent: 9.81%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (59%), 2008 (48%)
Erik Paulsen Votes and Bills
Back to top NJ Vote Ratings

National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 21 (L) : 77 (C) 42 (L) : 57 (C) 21 (L) : 79 (C)
Social 34 (L) : 62 (C) 28 (L) : 70 (C) 17 (L) : 74 (C)
Foreign 15 (L) : 77 (C) - (L) : 91 (C) 27 (L) : 70 (C)
Composite 25.7 (L) : 74.3 (C) 25.3 (L) : 74.7 (C) 23.7 (L) : 76.3 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC90100
LCV2911
CFG6465
ITIC-92
NTU7472
20112012
COC100-
ACLU-0
ACU8484
ADA00
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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