Staff Directory 566938881

Briana Bierschbach

Reporter | Politics and Government
Location: St. Paul

Briana Bierschbach is a politics and government reporter for the Star Tribune.

Bierschbach has spent the last decade covering Minnesota politics for various publications, including MPR News and MinnPost. She started her journalism career in college at the University of Minnesota's campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, where she covered city hall. Bierschbach also has worked at the Pioneer Press, the Associated Press and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. In her spare time, she teaches a class on state government at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and spends time with her husband, dog and two cats.
Recent content from Briana Bierschbach
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka spoke at an Oct. 19 news conference where Republican state leaders announced a "Contract to Open Up Minnesota." On

Gazelka says he could've handled COVID outbreak differently

Senate majority leader says he "personally will apply lessons from this episode to inform future decisions" while DFL leader says Republicans didn't take situation "seriously."
Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury and Senate President Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, spoke before a vote on Thursday, Nov. 12. Republicans ha

Legislators clash over COVID-19 reporting amid outbreak

Minnesota DFL legislators are demanding more transparency from Republican senators who held large indoor gatherings that may have contributed to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Capitol.
After the abrupt ending to the special session, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, talked with House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crow

Divided Legislature could bring bipartisanship — or gridlock

For most of the past decade, Republicans and Democrats at the Minnesota State Capitol have clashed over budget deficits and haggled over taxes and spending.…
Adam Weeks, left, Tyler Kistner and Angie Craig squared off in the Second District, but Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now candidate, died before the elec

Marijuana candidates shake up Minnesota races

In two pivotal races for control of the Minnesota Senate, candidates running under the pro-marijuana banner pulled in thousands of votes despite largely invisible campaigns.…
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., addresses a crowd at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 in Rochester, Minn. (AP Photo/Bruce

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn wins re-election in Minnesota's First District

He beat DFLer Dan Feehan in a rematch by more than 13,000 votes.
Rep. Jim Hagedorn knocked on doors and talked with folks in Le Sueur, Minnesota, during a campaign swing in September 2020.

GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn holds First District seat, beating back challenge from Dan Feehan

Jim Hagedorn was leading DFLer Dan Feehan, but the race had not been called yet by Wednesday morning.
Michelle Fischbach, GOP candidate for Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District seat, arrived at a watch party in Olivia, Minn., in August 2020.

Michelle Fischbach ousts Collin Peterson in Minnesota's Seventh District

Republican Michelle Fischbach ousted DFL Rep. Collin Peterson in Minnesota’s Seventh District on Tuesday, ending a three-decade career in Congress and toppling Democras’ powerful chairman…
Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Minn.

Rep. Pete Stauber secures historic win in northeastern Minnesota

Stauber became the first Republican to win re-election in Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District in more than 70 years.
Democrat Dan Feehan, left, and Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn

High-stakes rematch in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District goes on between Jim Hagedorn, Dan Feehan

Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn clung to a narrow lead early Wednesday in Minnesota’s First District against DFL candidate Dan Feehan. Hagedorn, a former…
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn.

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, leading GOP efforts to take the House, wins re-election

Republican Rep. Tom Emmer sailed to a fourth term in the conservative Sixth Congressional District on Tuesday, besting DFL political newcomer and former Mrs. Minnesota…
Tasha Huebl, left, and Alexandra Tup door-knocked in Prior Lake on Sunday, Nov. 1, for the Trump ticket. They also put out door fliers for down ballet

As time runs out, campaigns scour Minnesota for votes

Facing the prospect of postelection court fights, Gov. Tim Walz and other state officials urged voters who hadn't already mailed their ballots by the final weekend to take them to early drop-off sites or vote in person Tuesday.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

Minnesota voters scramble to return early absentee ballots

Federal judges ruled last week that all mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. Election Day must be set aside.
Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke during a drive-in campaign rally Friday in Falcon Heights. “We choose hope over fear. We choose unity over div

Biden in Minn.: 'We choose unity over division'

The Democratic presidential nominee rallied supporters at the State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights as part of a three-state swing Friday.
Adam C. Weeks, Tyler Kistner and incumbent Angie Craig

GOP recruited pot-party candidate to 'pull votes' from DFLer, he said

Recording left by a deceased marijuana candidate says he was recruited to be a spoiler in Second District race.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson has been Minnesota’s Seventh District congressman for three decades.

'Only conservative Democrat left': Minnesota's Collin Peterson bets on record in re-election fight

The Blue Dog Democrat finds himself increasingly isolated from his party as Republicans spend millions to unseat him.
Republican Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom

Northern Minnesota congressional race reflects shifting political allegiances

DFL opponent Nystrom focusing on health care.
Donald Trump supporters took videos and photos of the president as he walked onto the stage at Duluth International Airport in September.

Shifting Iron Range politics may not be enough to boost Trump in Minn.

Trump focuses on support in region, but population trends are against him.

Surprise candidate in Second District U.S. House race

It’s not exactly how anyone imagines they’ll become a candidate for office. No news conference. No fancy rollout or fresh headshots. No, Paula Overby’s entrance…
President Donald Trump visited Duluth on Sept. 30.

Trump campaign cuts back on ads in Minnesota

Campaign appears to be shifting resources to major potential swing states such as Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.
Tuesday's presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was projected on a giant screen for a DFL watch party

Trump, Biden rev up Minnesota campaigns while facing the virus

In the final month, both sides have been forced to confront the COVID-19 pandemic in new and surprising ways.
President Donald Trump arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Wednesday.

Prominent Minnesota Republicans in quarantine from Trump visit

Trump held an indoors fundraiser in the Twin Cities and an outdoors rally that attracted thousands to the Duluth airport on Wednesday.
Todd Gallagher prepares mail-in ballot envelopes including an "I voted" sticker in Minneapolis in July. Absentee ballots are being requested at a reco

Trump seizes on conservative group's claim of fraud in Minneapolis election

Looking at "harvesting" allegation in council election would fall to MPD, Hennepin County.
U.S. congresswomen look on as the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is carried out by a joint services military honor guard after lyin

Supreme Court battle 'lit a fire' under Minnesota women ahead of the election

Both sides in the ideological divide are mobilizing around the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, attended a rally in Moorhead. A day earlier, Cheney and Democratic vice presidential nominee

Earlier major-party presidential swing through northern Minnesota shows the state in play

It was a different time, but the messages to voters were similar.
President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are bringing their campaigns to Minnesota on the same day the state kicks off early voting, making the s

Trump, Biden stage dueling campaign stops today in northern Minnesota

Joe Biden looks to reassert Democratic competitiveness beyond the Twin Cities and suburbs, while President Donald Trump is aiming to shore up his backing from 2016.
Democrat Dan Feehan, left, and Republican Jim Hagedorn are running in the First Congressional District.

Pandemic, urban unrest dominate race for Minnesota's rural First Congressional District

The race for First Congressional District in southern Minnesota has become a microcosm of the broader 2020 general election.
Minnesota Department of Commerce commissioner Steve Kelley, shown in November.

Minn. Senate ousts commerce commissioner during fourth special session

Steve Kelley is the second commissioner to be rejected by Republicans, amid heightening tensions over the governor's pandemic powers.
Donald Trump Jr. smiled and gave a thumbs up to supporters at the conclusion of his campaign event at the DECC in Duluth on Wednesday.

Jill Biden, Donald Trump Jr. bring presidential campaigns to Minnesota

They were both in Minnesota on Wednesday as the state rises in presidential importance.
U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, shown in 2019.

Fired staffer to Rep. Jim Hagedorn pushes back after mail controversy

Peter Su has an audio recording of a phone conversation in which the Minnesota Republican said that "I don't believe there's any problem" with taxpayer-funded mail.
U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., was among those endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Congress last week.

Unions, business groups shift alliances in 2020 campaign

It's not something that happened overnight in Minnesota.
This mailer is being sent to households across Minnesota from a group called Common Sense Voters of America, an Ohio-based political advocacy group. (

GOP-slanted mailers to Minnesotans have tie to Kanye West campaign

Mailers, funded by GOP PAC that worked for West, include ballot application while bashing Joe Biden and Tina Smith.
Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Walz, GOP Senate leader working to 'reset' relationship

Tim Walz and Paul Gazelka vowed to reinforce their "mutual respect" after a sharp exchange of letters.
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Minnesota screens, airwaves begin to fill up with campaign ads

The Trump and Biden campaigns started airing ads Tuesday and have reserved millions in airtime up until Election Day.
In this combination photo, president Donald Trump, left, speaks at a news conference on Aug. 11, 2020, in Washington and Democratic presidential candi

Democrats, GOP offer stark contrast to voters in November

In back to back conventions, Democrats focused on virus, social justice, while Republicans warned of rioting, anarchy.
U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, shown at a 2019 town hall at Owatonna Middle School.

E-mails show U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn involved with constituent mail decisions

Southern Minnesota Republican's heavy spending on constituent mail now under scrutiny.
Kanye West will be on Minnesota's November ballot

Kanye West will be on Minnesota's November ballot

The DFL might challenge the move by the rapper and Trump supporter.
Still fighting: Betty Folliard, former legislator and activist for the Equal Rights Amendment, sees the ERA as an extension of women’s suffrage.

For Minnesota women, voting rights fight not over 100 years later

Women still struggle with sexual harassment and wage gaps while they have yet to shatter the highest glass ceiling in Minnesota and national politics.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., spoke during a campaign event in Charleston, S.C. Klobuchar will give a speech on the f

Klobuchar sets stage for Harris, Biden at largely virtual DNC

The convention will take place mostly in the virtual landscape of cyberspace, relegating all but the party's most high-profile figures to supporting roles at home.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, left, D-Minn., talked with Keaton Sisk outside the Dinkytown Target near the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis on Tuesday

Rep. Omar wins contentious Fifth District DFL primary

Rep. Ilhan Omar bested four primary challengers by double-digits, including DFL newcomer and mediation lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux, whose well-funded campaign was centered on the argument that he would be more focused on the needs of the district than the outspoken incumbent.
Rep. Ilhan Omar , left, and her top Democratic opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux.

George Floyd's death looms large in Mpls. DFL primary battles

Antone Melton-Meaux recalls his days at the University of Virginia where police detained him for three hours based on reports that a man wanted for…
Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Tina Smith met with business owners that were affected by the looting and riots following the George Floyd

Walz asks feds for loans to help businesses damaged in civil unrest

Request made to SBA after disaster declaration denied by FEMA.
Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, shown in 2019.

58 Minnesota firms with political connections received large PPP loans

State officials defended their participation in the program, noting they followed all of the rules and used the money as it was intended.

Can you vote in a bar in Minnesota? Baudette polling site raises question

During the ongoing pandemic, counties have been given more latitude to find a polling place that's safe for voters.
Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans said in a new planning estimate Friday that the pandemic has made economic conditions “extr

Minnesota now facing a $4.7 billion shortfall in future budget

Minnesota lawmakers are facing a potential $4.7 billion deficit in the next two-year budget as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to gobble up more resources than the state gets in revenue.
Ivanka Trump spoke to the press in Duluth Pack in Canal Park in Duluth on Monday. She was joined by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and

Ivanka Trump promotes Native justice and workers pledge during Minnesota visit

The first daughter and the U.S. Interior chief made stops in Duluth and Bloomington
House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, entered the House chambers for a second special session Monday.

Little transparency in Minnesota debate over policing reform

This time, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that complicated things.
Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill into law Thursday. “Every single person, every single Minnesotan deserves to feel safe and protected in their communit

Walz signs police accountability bill sparked by Floyd's death

The legislation, which passed a divided Legislature with broad bipartisan support earlier this week, ushers in some of the most significant changes to the state criminal justice system in years.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said, “We’ve never stopped working on this, whether we were in session or out of session. That’s something w

Minn. lawmakers pass sweeping police reform, but bonding bill fails

The Legislature passed one of the most substantial changes to the state's criminal justice system in years, including a statewide ban on chokeholds and neck restraints.
Opposition to Rep. Ilhan Omar is fueling an unprecedented surge in donations to her top Democratic opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux.

Challenge puts Rep. Omar's controversies, style to the test

Some of Rep. Ilhan Omar's biggest critics are placing their bets — and considerable resources — on political newcomer Antone Melton-Meaux, her leading opponent in the five-way Aug. 11 primary.
Opposition to Rep. Ilhan Omar is fueling an unprecedented surge in donations to her top Democratic opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux.

Omar's primary challenger takes wide lead in campaign money

Antone Melton-Meaux, a mediation lawyer who emerged on the DFL scene late last year to challenge Rep. Ilhan Omar, said he raised a staggering $3.2 million between April and the end of June, dramatically outraising Omar.
Corey Day ,Joe Biden’s Minnesota senior adviser left, and Representative Dan Wolgamott DFL St Cloud district 14B, celebrated after hearing that Joe

Biden hires top Minnesota campaign staff

Veteran organizers hope to unite factions, win over rival Democrats' loyalists.
The proposal will be introduced during a special session on Monday.

House GOP plan gives school districts control over fall classes

Minnesota House Republicans are pushing a proposal that would allow local school districts to decide if — and how — they should reopen for classes…
(Left) CHUM Distributive Services Director Scott Van Daele, Arrowhead District Director Clark Garthwait and Life Scout Seth Werner worked to carry the

Gov. Tim Walz directs $12 million in federal aid to Minnesota food shelves

The CARES Act funding will be distributed to 300 food shelves and seven food banks across the state.
Sen. Jeff Hayden spoke Tuesday during a news conference with U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and the Minnesota Legislature's People of Color and Indigenous Caucu

Legislature getting a do-over on police reform, public works

Gov. Tim Walz, who's planning to call a special session Monday, said he is optimistic that lawmakers can strike a deal. But the politics remain tricky.
The statue of Sen. Knute Nelson on the Minnesota Capitol grounds. The Nelson Act of 1889, which relocated Indigenous Minnesotans to the White Earth Re

Stay or go? Debate grows over statues at Minnesota Capitol

In the 115-year history of the State Capitol building, memorials have only ever been added, never subtracted. That could soon change.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter speak at a June 15, 2020, press conference, in front of a burned out Foot Locker store o

Walz requests federal aid to repair damage from unrest after Floyd's death

The request to FEMA asks the president to declare a major disaster in Minnesota and send relief.
Democrat Dan Feehan, left, is challenging GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn for Minnesota's First Congressional District seat.

Pandemic is a focus in southern Minnesota congressional race

Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn is facing a rematch this fall with Democrat Dan Feehan.
A tow truck removed a statue of Christopher Columbus after it was toppled at the Minnesota State Capitol on June 10.

Who should take Christopher Columbus' place at Minnesota State Capitol?

During his 32 years at the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board, Paul Mandell has heard plenty of suggestions for new monuments.
Under state law, any eligible Minnesotan can now elect to vote early by mail or in person.

Minnesota August primary voting has started: Here's what you need to know

Any eligible Minnesotan can now elect to vote early by mail or in person.
Gov. Tim Walz is moving to send out $841 million in federal aid to counties, cities and townships hit hard by COVID-19.

Walz to release $841 million in COVID-19 aid to local governments

Legislators failed to pass distribution plan during recent special session.
Julia Iwaszek looked Friday at signs posted on a gate surrounding the Minnesota State Capitol during a rally to commemorate Juneteenth in St. Paul.

Minnesota police reform efforts collapse in divided Legislature

Lawmakers left St. Paul at sunup Saturday morning without a deal on criminal justice reform. The impasse unsettled a tentative deal to distribute $841 million in federal COVID-19 aid to counties and towns. Also left undone: a billion dollar-plus bonding package to finance public infrastructure projects.
DFL state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray traded barbs with GOP Sen. Paul Gazelka over not being consulted on police reforms.

Racial tensions erupt in Legislature

Tensions were rising in a late-night debate in the Minnesota Senate last week when Sen. Patricia Torres Ray turned to each member of the People…
Zina Fizer filed to run for an open state Senate seat in Plymouth as a Democrat.

They heard George Floyd call out to his mother. Now these black women are running for office

Minnesota calls to action inspire national momentum for change
DFL U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents Minneapolis and some surrounding suburbs in Congress, told protesters at a rally to defund the police Saturda

Minneapolis push to dismantle police upends political campaigns

Republicans in the Legislature are calling on Democrats in control of the House to hold hearings on the proposal to dismantle the police. And in campaigns, they are using the push in Minneapolis to paint all Democrats, from top to bottom, as "extreme."
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

Lingering crises spark challenges to Gov. Tim Walz's emergency powers

Challenges mount to the governor's sweeping power.
Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero spoke about the Minneapolis City Council's newly approved ban on choke holds for the

'Small and mighty': Minnesota human rights agency faces test in police probe

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is embarking on its biggest task yet, digging into a decade worth of Minneapolis police procedures, policies and practices.
Former Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit in March.

Joe Biden to keynote Minnesota DFL Party's virtual convention

The probable Democrat nominee can make an appeal directly to activists in a state that President Donald Trump is targeting this fall.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced new guidelines Wednesday for restaurants, bars, salons and barber shops starting June 1.

Minnesota Poll: Stay-at-home rules get support from a majority

More than two-thirds of Minnesotans say they won't return to normal rhythms of daily life, and many believe the worst is yet to come, according to a new Minnesota Poll.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced new guidelines Wednesday for restaurants, bars, salons and barber shops during the coronavirus pandemic.

Walz's latest changes get pushback

Starting June 1, bars and restaurants can open for outdoor service. Hair salons and campgrounds also can reopen, with limits. But the state's restrictions are more than what Iowa, the Dakotas and Wisconsin have.
House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, presided over the House Chamber, mostly empty due to the pandemic, on May 11. The bonding bill faile

Bonding bill in limbo, Minn. lawmakers race toward deadline

The uncertainty surrounding the $2 billion bill, couched by Democrats as a jobs initiative, is the latest roadblock in a legislative session completely upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Protesters had attached their messages to the gate outside the governor's residence in St. Paul.

Walz says reopening followed preparation, not political pressure

Governor says that 'for the most part, Minnesotans did this.'
Gov. Tim Walz announced changes in Minnesota's stay-at-home restrictions in an address on Wednesday night.

Walz turns dials down with 'Stay Safe' plan

It's a significant step, but it's not a wholesale reopening: Starting Monday, people can get out more in groups of less than 10, and many more businesses can reopen, if there is a plan to keep workers and customers safe.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, shown May 5, is expected to extend the emergency powers he has wielded since the pandemic began to ramp up in March, leaders

Minn. lawmakers anticipate new pandemic emergency order

At the Capitol, Gov. Tim Walz is widely expected to extend his peacetime emergency powers.
Minnesota State Capitol. ] GLEN STUBBE • EDS, Viewed from the Transportation Building. for any appropriate use.

With end in sight, Minnesota Legislature draws dividing lines

With a week to go, legislators clash over business reopenings and state pay raises.
Lindsey Port, shown in 2017 during a run for the Minnesota House. Port is now running for a targeted seat in the Republican-controlled Senate, and the

COVID-19 forces 2020 candidates to retool their campaigns

More candidates focus on jobs, economy, public health rather than partisan projects.