Carla Nelson

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Carla Nelson
Carla Nelson 2016.jpg
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 26th district
30th (2011–2013)
Assumed office
January 4, 2011
Preceded byAnn Lynch
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 30A district
In office
January 7, 2003 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byredrawn district
Succeeded byTina Liebling
Personal details
Born (1957-05-22) May 22, 1957 (age 62)
Webster City, Iowa
Political partyRepublican Party of Minnesota
Spouse(s)Terry Clark
ResidenceRochester, Minnesota
Alma materDrake University
University of Minnesota
Occupationteacher, small business owner, legislator

Carla J. Nelson (born May 22, 1957) is a Minnesota politician and member of the Minnesota Senate. A member of the Republican Party of Minnesota, she represents District 26, which includes portions of Olmsted County in the southeastern part of the state.

In 2018, Nelson was an unsuccessful candidate in the Republican primary to represent Minnesota's 1st congressional district.[1][2]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Nelson graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, receiving her B.S. in special education. She went on to attend the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, earning her M.Ed. in teacher leadership, and her reading specialist certification.[3]

She is the owner of the Olmsted Group, an insurance and investment firm in Rochester. She was previously an elementary and middle school teacher in Rochester.[3]

Minnesota Legislature[edit]

Nelson was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and was re-elected in 2012. She previously served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2005, and was a member of the House's Education Policy, Higher Education Finance, and Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs committees. Her special legislative concerns include health care, commerce, higher education, and taxes.[4][3] Nelson was named an assistant minority leader in November 2012.[5]

State boards[edit]

Nelson was an appointed member of the Minnesota Higher Education Finance Authority Board from 2005 to 2009, of the Capitol Area Architectural Planning Board (CAAPB) from 2005 to 2010, and of the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation Board from 2008 to 2010.[3]

Civic activities[edit]

Nelson has been a member of Junior Achievement, the University of Minnesota Citizens Advisory Council, and the Rochester Music Guild. She is a former board member of Next Chapter Ministries, a member of the board of directors of Friends of Mayowood, a member of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Government Affairs and Government Forums Committee, and a former member of the Rochester Symphony, Orchestra, and Chorale, on which she was an Aspiring Conductor winner.[6]

2018 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In October 2017, Nelson announced that she was running for the United States House of Representatives in the 2018 election.[7] She was defeated in the August 12, 2018, Republican primary by Jim Hagedorn.[2]

The 1st district seat became open after Democratic incumbent Tim Walz announced he would not seek reelection for the seat and instead would run for Minnesota Governor.[8] Nelson failed to secure the Republican Party endorsement on April 21, 2018, when Jim Hagedorn earned 76%[9] of the vote on the first ballot. Nelson was endorsed by Minnesota State Representative Nels Pierson, Winning for Women,, and Susan B. Anthony List, Maggie's List, and the National Rifle Association (NRA).[citation needed]


  1. ^ Brooks, Jennifer (October 2, 2017). "Carla Nelson of Rochester Joins Race to Replace Walz in Congress". Star Tribune.
  2. ^ a b "Hagedorn Tops Nelson In 1st Congressional GOP Race". CBS Minnesota. August 14, 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Nelson, Carla J. - Legislator Record - Minnesota Legislators Past & Present".
  4. ^ "Senator Carla J. Nelson (R) District 26".
  5. ^ Kimball, Joe (November 19, 2012). "Two GOP state senators named additional assistant minority leaders". Minn Post.
  6. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart.
  7. ^ Carlson, Heather J. (October 2, 2017). "Nelson running for Congress". Post-Bulletin. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  8. ^ Pathe, Simone (March 27, 2017). "Minnesota's Tim Walz Running for Governor". Roll Call. Washington, D.C. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  9. ^ Krohn, Tim (April 23, 2018). "Hagedorn, Feehan claim party endorsements for Congress". Mankato Free Press. Mankato, MN. Retrieved April 23, 2018.

External links[edit]