Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2008, 3rd term.

Born: May 14, 1965, Bakersfield, CA

Home: Eden Prairie, MN

Education: St. Olaf Col., B.A. 1987

Professional Career: Marketing analyst, Target Corp.

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.

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.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2871

(202) 225-6351

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 127
Washington, DC 20515-2303

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2871

(202) 225-6351

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 127
Washington, DC 20515-2303

DISTRICT OFFICE

(952) 405-8510

(952) 405-8514

250 Prairie Center Drive Suite 230
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

DISTRICT OFFICE

(952) 405-8510

(952) 405-8514

250 Prairie Center Drive Suite 230
Eden Prairie, MN 55344-7904

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(952) 934-8999

250 Prairie Center Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

250 Prairie Center Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Acquisitions

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Aerospace

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Agriculture

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Appropriations

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Arts

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Banking

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Budget

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Campaign

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Commerce

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Crime

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Disability

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Education

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Energy

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Environment

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Family

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Foreign

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Health

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Housing

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Immigration

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Insurance

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Intelligence

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Internet

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Labor

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Medicare

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Military

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Minorities

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Native Americans

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Privacy

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Recreation

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Science

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Small Business

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Social Security

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Tax

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Technology

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Trade

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Transportation

Helen Langfeldt
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Mike Stober
Legislative Director

Ryan Huff
Legislative Assistant

ryan.huff@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2871

Welfare

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Women

Matt Gallivan
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Erik Paulsen
Votes: 222,335
Percent: 58.16%
Brian Barnes
Votes: 159,937
Percent: 41.84%
2012 PRIMARY
Erik Paulsen
Votes: 18,672
Percent: 90.19%
John Howard
Votes: 2,032
Percent: 9.81%
2010 GENERAL
Erik Paulsen
Votes: 161,177
Percent: 58.8%
Jim Meffert
Votes: 100,240
Percent: 36.57%
2010 PRIMARY
Erik Paulsen
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Erik Paulsen
Votes: 178,932
Percent: 48.48%
Ashwin Madia
Votes: 150,787
Percent: 40.85%
David Dillon
Votes: 38,970
Percent: 10.56%
2008 PRIMARY
Erik Paulsen
Votes: 14,187
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (59%), 2008 (48%)

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