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Editorial: Tim Miller should reconsider his caucus move

Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg

Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, has made the news recently. Since winning re-election in November, he lost his bid to be the new House Republican leader in 2019 and now has announced his intention to leave the House Republican Caucus next year.

He told the West Central Tribune this week he remains a Republican and "... will still be working alongside my fellow Republicans."

On Dec. 7, Miller and three other Republican representatives wrote current House Majority Leader Kurt Daudt that: "During the 2019-2020 biennium, we will be formally caucusing separately from the House Republican Caucus. This letter serves as our notice of resignation from the (House Republican Caucus) effective January 8th ..."

The four legislators are now calling themselves the "New House Republican Caucus."

However, neither state nor local Republican leaders were informed about the mini-caucus members' desire to leave the House Republican Caucuses before the group's letter to Daudt. Nor did the mini-minority members meet with Republican leaders to discuss their concerns with party leadership.

So much for Miller's "working alongside my fellow Republicans."

On Nov. 10, Miller wrote on his Facebook page, "I offered a new direction by running for Minority Leader that would unify the MNGOP base for the hard work ahead. Unfortunately, I fell short, but I am looking forward to working with Minority Leader (elect) Kurt Daudt toward this goal."

Less than a month later, Miller announces his intentions to leave the House Republican Caucus.

The breakaway members said in a recent statement, "We ... believe this new caucus will allow our members to optimize our ability to serve our constituents and properly represent them at the State Capitol."

House Republicans had a 77-57 majority—or a 21-vote GOP cushion—in the Minnesota House's 2018 session. In the November election, the House DFL Caucus won a big swing to a 75-59 majority—or a 16-vote DFL cushion—for the 2019 session. WIth the four-member New Republican Caucus gone, House Republicans now face a significant 20-vote gap. How can a four-person mini-minority "optimize" their influence in 2019?

So much for the political reality of this new four-vote mini-minority.

Miller told the West Central Tribune that this new caucus move "...is going to free me up to be able to serve my district with a transparency and with forthrightness and honesty, so that's why I decided to do this."

Yet Miller did not inform his district's voters nor state or local party leaders before the November election of his desire to leave the House Republican Caucus.

So much for Miller's transparency with his constituents and fellow Republicans.

Finally, this new GOP mini-caucus has made public a split in the House Republican Caucus, which will only serve to weaken the Republicans going into the 2019 Legislature and curtail Miller's value to District 17A residents.

So much for Miller's goal to become a Republican of influence in the House.

The new mini-minority caucus move also could limit or impact the House Republicans' staff size and structure, and possible committee assignments. That is not a way to endear a member to fellow House Republicans, party leaders or the party's base.

Miller's recent actions appear to be following in the trait of former Representative Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, in creating a growing animosity among members of his own political party.

So much for Miller strengthening his political capital.

The West Central Tribune is disappointed in Miller's latest move of withdrawing from the House Republican Caucus. It is hard to see any upside to his most recent decision benefitting his political future or meeting the needs of his House district and constituents. He should strongly reconsider this unwise political move toward possible Republican obscurity.

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