Republican hopeful enters Minnesota congressional race by putting distance between himself, Trump

A retired business attorney who has complained for years about political polarization joined the race for Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District seat, saying his GOP bid would appeal to centrist voters and that he won’t align with former President Donald Trump.

A man poses for a photo
Republican congressional candidate Quentin Wittrock.
Courtesy photo

Quentin Wittrock of Coon Rapids filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission this week and went up with a website that has detailed policy positions, including on contentious topics from abortion to guns. 

In an interview Wednesday with MPR News, Wittrock said he believes voters in the western Twin Cities suburban district want a middle-of-the-road candidate rather than a hardened partisan. 

“The purpose of my campaign is to mobilize and lead the middle of the political spectrum in this district which I think is the majority of people to participate in the process,” he said.

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To that end, Wittrock described his personal dissatisfaction with Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination who is seeking to reclaim the White House.

He said he has never voted for Trump.

“I disagreed with his morals and his way of acting, although I didn’t dispute many of his policies and many of the good things that happened in the country while he was in the White House,” Wittrock said. “I didn’t think that his principles were something that I could agree with.”

Wittrock’s stance puts him at odds with the Republicans who currently represent Minnesota in Congress. They endorsed Trump in a joint statement Wednesday.

Incumbent Rep. Dean Phillips, who rode an anti-Trump wave in 2018 to a seat Democrats hadn’t held for many decades, isn’t running for a fourth term. Instead, he’s challenging fellow Democrat, President Joe Biden, for the party's 2024 presidential nomination.

Wittrock joins another Republican, Blaize Harty, in the race. Two Democrats are seeking the seat as well. They are state Sen. Kelly Morrison and former Minneapolis chief resilience officer Ron Harris, who has deep connections to the Democratic National Committee.