A small businesswoman with a resume of big corporate gigs and an unsuccesful longshot state Senate run has thrown her (stylish) hat in the ring for state GOP chair. 

Jennifer Carnahan, who worked at companies like Ecolab, General Mills and McDonald's before starting her own boutique clothing store, was born in South Korea before adoption by her parents, who raised her in Maple Grove. 

She ran for the state Senate in a Minneapolis district where she had no shot at winning but said her performance -- she outperformed Donald Trump by 56 percent -- offers evidence she can organize communities that have not been traditionally Republican. 

"Part of me running -- whether successful or not -- is that it will send a strong message that we're inclusive," she said. 

Carnahan said her goals are to shore up the party's fundraising by increasing money from small donors especially; strengthening the brand and broadening the party base; and, getting Republicans elected in 2018.

Other candidates to replace current GOP Chair Keith Downey are current Deputy Chair Chris Fields and GOP National Committeeman Rick Rice. Former Sen. David Hann is mulling a run. 

Carnahan, whose candidacy was first reported by MPR, said she's been told to wait her turn, a message she is proudly ignoring: "We're the party that lifts people up," she said. 

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