Erik Paulsen

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Erik Paulsen
Erik Paulsen.jpg
U.S. House, Minnesota, District 3
In office
January 3, 2009-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 6
PredecessorJim Ramstad (R)
Majority Leader, Minnesota House of Representatives
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Cost per vote$11.55 in 2012
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$8,584,178
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Minnesota House of Representatives
High schoolChaska High School, Chaska, MN
Bachelor'sSt. Olaf College
Date of birthMay 14, 1965
Place of birthBakersfield, California
Net worth$564,515
ReligionLutheran - LCMS
Office website
Campaign website
Erik Paulsen (b. May 14, 1965, in Bakersfield, CA) is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District. Paulsen was first elected to the House in 2008. He won re-election in 2012.[1]

He won re-election to the U.S. House to represent the 3rd Congressional District of Minnesota in 2014.[2] Paulsen defeated challenger Sharon Sund (D) in the general election.[3] He ran uncontested for the Republican nomination in the primary election on August 12, 2014.[4]

Previously, Paulsen served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1995 to 2008.[5]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Paulsen is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


Paulsen was born in 1965 in Bakersfield, California. After graduating from public high school in Chaska, Minnesota, he went on to earn his B.A. at St. Olaf College in 1987. Prior to his political career, Paulsen worked as a businessman.[5]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Paulsen's political career:[5]

Prior to his political career, Paulsen worked as a business analyst at Target Corporation.[6]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Paulsen served on the following committees:[7]


Paulsen served on the following House committees:[8]

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[9] For more information pertaining to Paulsen's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[10]

National security


Yea3.png Paulsen voted in support of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[11]

DHS Appropriations

Yea3.png Paulsen voted in support of HR 2217 - the DHS Appropriations Act (2014) Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[11]

Keystone Pipeline Amendment

Nay3.png Paulsen voted in opposition of House Amendment 69, which would have amended HR 3 to "require that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, conduct a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certify that necessary protections have been put in place." The amendment failed on May 22, 2013, with a vote of 176 - 239 and was largely along party lines.[11]

CISPA (2013)

Yea3.png Paulsen voted in support of HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill permitted federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities.[12] The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.[11]


Farm Bill

See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

Yea3.png Paulsen supported the Farm Bill on July 11, 2013. The bill passed in a 216-208 vote.[13] The bill passed included farm policy, but did not include food stamps.[14]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[15] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[16] Paulsen voted to approve the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[15]

Yea3.png The shutdown ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[17] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Paulsen voted for HR 2775.[18]


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Morton Memos Prohibition

Yea3.png Paulsen supported House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States.[19] The vote largely followed party lines.[20]


Repealing Obamacare

Yea3.png Paulsen has supported all attempts to repeal or delay the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[21]

Social issues

Violence Against Women Act

Yea3.png Paulsen voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act which provides aid to prosecute cases of violent acts against women and men.[22]


Yea3.png Paulsen supported HR 1797 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The resolution passed the House on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 228 - 196. The purpose of the bill was to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[23]

Government affairs

HR 676

See also: Boehner's lawsuit against the Obama administration

Yea3.png On July 30, 2014, the U.S. House approved a resolution 225 to 201 to sue President Barack Obama for exceeding his constitutional authority. Five Republicans--Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Paul Broun of Georgia, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Steve Stockman of Texas-- voted with Democrats against the lawsuit.[24] Paulsen joined the other 224 Republicans in favor of the lawsuit. All Democrats voted against the resolution.[25][26]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Nay3.png Paulsen voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was 1 of 151 Republicans that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257-167 vote on January 1, 2013.[27]

National security

Yea3.png Paulsen voted in favor of extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps in 2011.[28]

Foreign policy

Removal of troops from Afghanistan

Nay3.png Paulsen opposed a resolution to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.[29]

American involvement in Libya

Yea3.png Paulsen supported a ban on using armed forces in Libya without Congressional approval in 2011.[29]


Yea3.png Paulsen supported opening the Outer Continental Shelf for oil drilling in 2011.[30]

Nay3.png Paulsen opposed allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases in 2011.[30]


On The Issues Vote Match

Erik Paulsen's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Paulsen is a Moderate Conservative. Paulsen received a score of 25 percent on social issues and 68 percent on economic issues.[31]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[32]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Opposes
Expand ObamaCare Opposes Comfortable with same-sex marriage Opposes
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Favors Keep God in the public sphere Favors
Absolute right to gun ownership Unknown Human needs over animal rights Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Favors
Support & expand free trade Unknown Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Unknown
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Unknown
Prioritize green energy Strongly Opposes Expand the military Unknown
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Opposes
Privatize Social Security Unknown Never legalize marijuana Unknown
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[31]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Erik Paulsen endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [33]



See also: Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District elections, 2014

Paulsen ran for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He ran uncontested for the Republican nomination in the primary election on August 12, 2014.[4] He defeated Sharon Sund (D) in the general election on November 4, 2014.

U.S. House, Minnesota District 3 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngErik Paulsen Incumbent 62.1% 167,515
     Democratic Sharon Sund 37.8% 101,846
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 224
Total Votes 269,585
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State


See also: Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District elections, 2012

Paulsen won re-election in 2012.[34] He defeated John W. Howard III in the Republican primary.[35] He defeated Democratic challenger Brian Barnes in the November general election.[1]

U.S. House, Minnesota District 3 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngErik Paulsen Incumbent 58.1% 222,335
     Democratic Brian Barnes 41.8% 159,937
     NA Write-in 0.1% 433
Total Votes 382,705
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election" (dead link)
Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngErik Paulsen Incumbent 90.2% 18,672
John Howard 9.8% 2,032
Total Votes 20,704

Erik Paulsen, "Math Guy Part II"


Paulsen was endorsed by the organizations and individuals below for the 2012 election:[36]

  • Minnesota Farm Bureau
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association
  • Minneapolis Federation of Police
  • TwinWest Chamber of Commerce
  • United States Chamber of Commerce
  • National Federation of Independent Business SAFE Trust

Full history

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Paulsen attends.

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

Comprehensive donor information for Paulsen is available dating back to 2008. Based on available campaign finance records, Paulsen raised a total of $8,584,178 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 16, 2013.[39]

Erik Paulsen's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 3) Won $3,113,793
2010 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 3) Won $2,688,948
2008 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 3) Won $2,781,437
Grand Total Raised $8,584,178

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Paulsen's reports.[40]

Erik Paulsen (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[41]July 15, 2013$693,846.38$357,734.44$(108,422.37)$943,158.45
July Quarterly[42]July 15, 2013$943,158.45$496,231.50$(142,405.24)$1,296,984.71
October Quarterly[43]October 14, 2013$1,296,984.71$379,712.72$(149,890.22)$1,526,807.21
Year-End Quarterly[44]December 31, 2013$1,526,807$293,074$(118,895)$1,701,994
April Quarterly[45]April 14, 2014$1,701,994.50$447,247.27$(170,105.75)$1,979,136.02
July QuarterlyJuly 15, 2014$1,979,136.00$438,954.00$(218,937.00)$2,200,323.00
Running totals


Paulsen won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Paulsen's campaign committee raised a total of $3,113,793 and spent $2,567,483.[46]

Cost per vote

Paulsen spent $11.55 per vote received in 2012.


Paulsen won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Paulsen's campaign committee raised a total of $2,688,948 and spent $2,575,922.[47]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Paulsen's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $250,030 and $879,000. That averages to $564,515, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican representatives in 2012 of $7,614,097.96. Paulsen ranked as the 258th most wealthy representative in 2012.[48] Between 2007 and 2012, Paulsen's calculated net worth[49] increased by an average of 7 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[50]

Erik Paulsen Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2007 to 2012:36%
Average annual growth:7%[51]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[52]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). Paulsen received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Retired industry.

From 2007-2014, 27.94 percent of Paulsen's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[53]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Erik Paulsen Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $11,093,936
Total Spent $8,823,011
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products$547,349
Health Professionals$531,986
Securities & Investment$471,600
% total in top industry8.01%
% total in top two industries13.96%
% total in top five industries27.94%


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Paulsen was a "moderate Republican leader" as of July 2014.[54] This was the same rating Paulsen received in June 2013.

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[55]

Paulsen most often votes with:

Paulsen least often votes with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Paulsen missed 43 of 4,355 roll call votes from January 2009 to July 2014. This amounts to 1.0 percent, which is better than the median of 2.5 percent among current congressional representatives as of July 2014.[54]

Congressional Staff Salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Paulsen paid his congressional staff a total of $899,145 in 2011. Overall, Minnesota ranked 26th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[56]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Paulsen ranked 111th in the conservative rankings in 2013.[57]


Paulsen ranked 110th in the conservative rankings in 2012.[58]


Paulsen ranked 107th in the conservative rankings in 2011.[59]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Paulsen voted with the Republican Party 94.6 percent of the time, which ranked 104th among the 234 House Republican members as of July 2014.[60]


Paulsen voted with the Republican Party 97.8 percent of the time, which ranked 30th among the 234 House Republican members as of June 2013.[61]


Paulsen lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his wife, Kelly, and their four daughters.[62] He is an LCMS (Missouri Synod) Lutheran and attends Victory Lutheran Church.[63]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Erik + Paulsen + Minnesota + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Erik Paulsen News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 ABC News, "General Election Results 2012-Minnesota," accessed November 7, 2012
  2. Minnesota Secretary of State, "2014 State General Election Candidate Filings," accessed June 11, 2014
  3. Politico, "House Elections Results," accessed November 11, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Associated Press, "Minnesota - 2014 Primary Results," accessed August 12, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress, "Erik Paulsen," accessed December 8, 2011
  6. Congressman Erik Paulsen, Minnesota's 3rd District, "Biography," accessed October 14, 2014
  7., "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress," accessed January 22, 2013
  8. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "House of Representatives Committee Assignments," accessed December 8, 2011
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  10. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Project Vote Smart, "Representative Erik Paulsen's Voting Records on National Security," accessed September 26, 2013
  12. The Library of Congress, "Bill Summary & Status - 113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - H.R.624," accessed August 27, 2013
  13. Vote Smart, "Paulsen on agriculture," accessed September 26, 2013
  14. New York Times, "House Republicans Push Through Farm Bill, Without Food Stamps," accessed September 17, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  16. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  17. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  18. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  19. The Library of Congress, "H.AMDT.136," accessed August 28, 2013
  20. Project Vote Smart, "Representative Erik Paulsen's Voting Records on Immigration," accessed September 26, 2013
  21. Project Vote Smart, "Representative Erik Paulsen's Voting Records on Issue: Health and Healthcare," accessed September 26, 2013
  22. On the Issues, "Paulsen on Civil Rights," accessed September 11, 2013
  23. Project Vote Smart, "Paulsen on abortion," accessed September 26, 2013
  24. U.S. House, "House Resolution 676," accessed July 30, 2014
  25. Yahoo News, "Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead," accessed July 30, 2014
  26. Washington Post, "House clears way for lawsuit against Obama," accessed July 30, 2014
  27. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  28. On the Issues, "Paulsen on Homeland Security," accessed September 11, 2013
  29. 29.0 29.1 On the Issues, "Erik Paulsen on War and Peace," accessed September 11, 2013
  30. 30.0 30.1 On the Issues, "Paulsen," accessed September 11, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 On The Issues, "Erik Paulsen Vote Match," accessed June 17, 2014
  32. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers.
  33. The Republic, "Minnesota's Paulsen endorses Romney for president; had previously been Pawlenty supporter," accessed January 26, 2012
  34. Minnesota Public Radio, "Barnes to challenge Paulsen," accessed February 10, 2012
  35. CBS, "Primary results," accessed May 30, 2013
  36. Erik Paulsen, "News Archives," accessed October 9, 2012
  37. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  38. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  39. OpenSecrets, "Erik Paulsen," accessed May 16, 2013
  40. Federal Election Commission, "Paulsen 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 18, 2013
  41. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  42. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  43. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2013
  44. FEC, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 11, 2014
  45. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed May 16, 2014
  46. OpenSecrets, " 2012 Re-Election Cycle," accessed February 15, 2013
  47. OpenSecrets, "Erik Paulsen 2010 Re-Election Cycle," accessed December 8, 2011
  48. OpenSecrets, "Erik Paulsen (R-MN), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  49. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  50. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  51. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  52. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  53., "Rep. Erik Paulsen," accessed September 23, 2014
  54. 54.0 54.1 GovTrack, "Erik Paulsen," accessed July 28, 2014
  55. OpenCongress, "Erik Paulsen," accessed July 28, 2014
  56. LegiStorm, "Erik Paulsen," accessed October 9, 2012
  57. National Journal, "2013 Congressional Vote Ratings," accessed July 28, 2013
  58. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," accessed February 26, 2013
  59. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  60. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  61. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  62. Official House Site, "Biography," accessed December 8, 2011
  63. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, "111th Congress includes four LCMS Lutherans," accessed October 14, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Ramstad
U.S. House of Representatives - Minnesota, District 3
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minnesota House of Representatives
Succeeded by