By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – These should be easy times for Republicans in Washington. They control the House, Senate and the White House. But under President Donald Trump, Republicans have been unable to pass key parts of their agenda, most notably a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

This is raising concerns about 2018 elections and whether the GOP can hold their majorities. Republicans in swing districts are considered especially vulnerable.

In Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Hilary Clinton beat Trump by almost 10 percentage points.

Voters in that district split their ballots, giving Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen a convincing win over popular Democratic State Sen. Terri Bonoff.

Since the election, Paulsen has been shadowed by protesters complaining of his stands on issues, including support for repealing Obamacare and his lack of in-person town hall meetings.

Paulsen insists he has been meeting with constituents.

“The most important thing is being accessible and listening — even to the people who I don’t agree with,” he said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “We have had office hours for several weeks where people just come in and sit down, we have had open meetings, telephone town halls…those events continue.”

A number of Democrats are already lining up to run against Paulsen, including prominent philanthropist and businessman Dean Phillips.

Despite the controversies, most political analysts believe the five-term congressman will be favored in a re-election bid. The influential Cook Political Report lists the race at this point as leaning Republican.

Dean Phillips Talks Running For The 3rd District

Esme Murphy

Comments (19)
  1. Emse Murphy, Erik Paulsen lied to you this morning. Go to minute 3:36 and listen to him say lie #1. Its the same 50 people protesting. (IndivisbleMN03 has 1673 likes and almost 2k followers.) #IamNo4 #2. He’s met with them all (I’m one of these people and he cancelled the meeting I had set up with him!) #3. He gives advance notice of the Congress on Your Corner events via “mailings to the community”. I live just 5 minutes from one of his recent locations and never received any notice. Please do your duty as a reporter and speak truth to power! Stop letting Rep. Paulsen use your show to misrepresent himself!

  2. I live within a few miles of one of Paulen’s Congressman on Your Corner locations. I received no prior notice of his visit. My neighbors did not receive a notice either. Paulsen then posts pictures of these events as he is leaving. There is no record of what he said. I would like to see a copy of these “mailings” he claims to send out. He may say he is “Accessible” but there is no public record of any of his meetings. Please hold him to account.

  3. It’s always good to understand the tactics your representative uses to control the narrative. at 00:15 Erik avoids taking a position on Graham-Cassidy, and says he doesn’t have good information yet, but also discredits the information available saying it has been “mis-managed.” (EVADE & DISCREDIT) / 2:29 – When asked about the details of the tax plan, he says they’ll be “filling in a lot of the details,” yet fails to provide any detail at all. (EVADE) / 3:52 – he claims he’s met with “all the protesters” and tries to cast them as a small group. (LIE & MISREPRESENT/ Then, when asked if he publicizes his Congress on the Corner events, he says he sends mailers. Of the more than 1800 members of Indivisible, no one has received a mailer informing them of these events. (LIE)

    These tactics, lying, evading, discrediting are commonly used by Congressman Erik Paulsen. MN03 deserves better.

  4. It is one thing to have honest disagreements with your Congressman on policy but it is quite another to listen to him tell lie after lie in a media interview. I’m so disappointed in his lack of integrity and honesty. Paulsen avoids taking stands on issues publicly until the moment his vote is cast. He belittles his constituents who disagree with him calling them “trolls” in fundraising letters and greatly understating their numbers in this interview. (Remember, over 600 disappointed constituents attended a “Where is Paulsen?” town hall event earlier this year.). Paulsen claims to make his public appearances known in advance but any constituent who calls his office to find out where they can attend a public event is told his schedule is “private.” What a sham.

  5. Esme, this is not an interview. This is unsubstantiated word salad from an elected congressmang given the opportunity to campaign. In this piece, he went unchallenged and was given a platform to speak with misrepresentations and evasions. Even in the small clip you showed with the Town Hall held last winter without Paulsen, although he was invited, there were 1600 in attendance, and many more turned away due to lack of space, not the “same 50 protesters”. I have never received any mailer from him and have lived in this district for 26 years. The only mailers I get are from PAC’s supporting him, which are full of divisive material, most of which are distortions of rhetoric that is used on a national platform. I am not a protester. I am a CONSTITUENT of CD03. I have met with Mr. Paulsen, as he is my representative. For him to characterize that as speaking “with a protester” is a reflection on his complete lack of ability to lead our district, make decisions that represent his constituents or be taken seriously as anything other than a mouthpiece for the party. Please in the future distinguish between an interview and a free commercial.

  6. I am shocked I this interview! Rep Paulsen has never contact me or my neighbors in Plymouth. I have received no mailers. I have asked to be on contact lists to no avail.

  7. Colleen Graf says:

    Please do some follow up @EsmeMurphy. I don’t know a single person that has ever received notice about the Congressman on Your Corner events. I’d really like to see the proof of what was mailed, the quantity and to who.

  8. Philip Rader says:

    It’s simple where is a link to his mailings. Who is on the “mailing” list let’s see if anyone can produce a verifiable “mailer” that shows that he has given advanced notice of these pop-up events.

  9. Ms. Murphy, Rep. Paulsen lied to your face this morning. I live in his district and he does not send out mailers nor announce opportunities to talk with him. Recently he appeared with no notice at a grocery store, set up a banner and table and talked to people who happened to be at the store for about 15 minutes, and then left before anyone could get the word out that he was there. His staff took pictures of the people who were there and promoted them as examples of being out in the community! He does not listen to constituents at all. He hopes that it is the same 50 people who are bringing attention to this, but he is so wrong. We will show him next year how wrong he is when we vote him out of office.

  10. Gayle Werner says:

    I am disappointed that Esme Murphy would allow Erick Paulsen to be untruthful during her interview without challenge. As one of his constituents, I have never received notice of upcoming town hall meetings or appearances. Once in a while, I get a voice mail from one of his unannounced robo-call “town halls”. Otherwise, nothing. When calling his office about an issue, his staff has not been able to state his position before a vote. He is unfortunately, evasive and untruthful.

  11. Ms. Murphy, I would really like to see you challenge Erik Paulsen on some of his outright lies. I live in his district and have never received notice of any Congressman on Your Corner events. He does have these conference calls where you can get on a call list to listen in, but there is never any notification of when the calls will take place and they will only take pre-screened questions. Congressman Paulsen has pretended to be a moderate, but his voting record does not back that up at all. Constituents who wish to speak with him regarding his votes will find it nearly impossible to do so. It is very frustrating to see Erik Paulsen lie and get away with it. Please do some investigative journalism and find out how unavailable Erik Paulsen truly is.

  12. Erik Paulsen lies repeatedly about any engagement with the people he supposedly represents. I have lived in this district for years and have never received a notice via mail, phone, email, or other means that he is going to make an appearance or discuss the issues with his constituents. Please start challenging him on his lies and get to the truth instead of continuing to give him a sounding board to perpetuate his fraud. He can’t be out of office soon enough!!

  13. Erik Paulson is not accessible and he is not listening to his constituents. Facts matter.

  14. Please prepare yourself for these interviews! He told so many untruths and wasn’t challenged. I have gone to the website and requested to receive his newsletter and have never received one. I live in his district and have never received advanced notice of a meeting. He was just at my grocery store a few weeks ago. Didn’t stay very long and I didn’t even find about it until someone wrote about it on their blog that was then shared with me days after the fact. I have posted on his Facebook page, written to his office and called a few times and have never received any word back on any of my concerns. I assure you there are more than 50 people honked off at this guy right now. He is so incredibly dishonest.

  15. Fluff piece…#notjournalism

    @RepErikPaulsen @esmemurphy @WCCO
    I heard you think there are only 50 of us! We are counting off… #Iam257 #MN03 #morethan50 #stribpol @IndivisibleMN03 #flipthethird

  16. @reperikPaulsen @esmemurphy @WCCO. I contacted Rep. Paulsen’s office today in regards to the mis-information he stated in this interview where he said that he lets constituents know about his congressman on the corner events. I asked his staffer how I could find out about future ones as I never heard about any of the recent appearances until the photo ops are put up on social media afterwards. I was told that they usually contact the specific community and the community announces the event, but they haven’t even done that for his last 2 or 3. I asked why his office doesn’t tweet or post on Facebook all upcoming appearances as Rep Paulsen has no problem doing that after the fact? She didn’t know. ALL members of his district are not being notified. I think it’s because he knows that substantially more than “50 constituents” are mad he has voted to take away healthcare for millions and end coverage for pre-existing conditions, mad he voted to reduce funding for education, mad he voted to take away internet privacy, and mad Erik Paulsen refuses to speak out the increasingly hostile rhetoric towards women, immigrants, and people of color that is being normalized by the current administration.

  17. I have been trying to connect with Rep Paulsen for the last 18 months. I am not a donor and I’m not a well-known name, so all I get from him are form letters and autoreply emails. He does not give advanced notice of his “public” events. And he has not had town halls since being elected. He provides NO representation for me as an individual.

  18. Esme, I am here to tell you that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of Erik’s constituents who are unhappy with his [lack of] representation. I have never been invited to a “town hall,” nor a Congressman on your Corner event. Erik Paulsen is a coward, and will not meet with the Indivisible Group. (He has one-on-one meetings, on occasion.) Please do a follow-up, and set the record straight.
    Nancy Haaheim / Iam22

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