"Caucus at Your Own Risk:
Senator Sheila Kiscaden and the Minnesota Republican Caucus"
Amy Strauss, MPP, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Shelia Kiscaden, first elected as a Republican from Rochester, Minnesota
in 1994, is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. As a result of
her moderate views, particularly her support of abortion rights, she is
not endorsed by the Republican Party during her 2000 reelection campaign.
She aligns herself under an Independent Party (IP) label, but still caucuses
with the Republicans in the Senate. She continues to caucus with them
because of the support and the resources the caucus provides, and also
because of her Republican identity. Eventually, this relationship is strained.
During partisan gridlock over the passing of a bonding bill, Kiscaden
supports the DFL bonding and tax bill. She announces her decision publicly
to her constituents, and predicts a Republican roadblock of the bill.
Dick Day, Republican Minority Leader evicts Kiscaden from her Republican
office soon after she votes for the failed DFL bonding bill. While the
DFL is working hard to get Kiscaden to caucus with them, Kiscaden still
identifies as Republican. However, the benefits of caucusing may be too
great to be ignored, and there are no other IP candidates in the Senate
with which to caucus with. Kiscaden must decide what to do, and fast.