In January 1995, 200 Minnesota Republican activists traveled to Washington, D.C., to witness the swearing in of their hero Newt Gingrich. It was the Republican Revolution, and Maplewood's Evie Axdahl was there. "We worked at it this long because we wanted to build a better future for our children and our grandchildren," she told a Pioneer Press reporter at the ceremony. "That's what this revolution is all about."
Axdahl has represented Minnesota to the Republican National Committee since she was elected in 1989. She served on the State Central Committee for 14 years and has represented the state Republican Party at the Republican National Convention five times. When the 2008 Republican presidential race was still wide open, Axdahl was tapped by Mitt Romney to join his steering committee. That Romney won Minnesota on caucus night is testimony to Axdahl and the handful of veteran Republican activists she runs with.
Something of a soldier for the party, Axdahl's been flying the Republican flag in Minnesota's Fourth District—which last elected a Republican to Congress in 1947—for decades. Friends and colleagues, when pressed to describe Axdahl, all gravitate toward the same word: stalwart. She's forever slogging through the trenches looking for that just-right candidate who might bring out some of the red in her deep-blue district.
"It's tough to stay motivated in the Fourth," says Sarah Janecek. Axdahl has had no struggles with motivation. And in her years with the party, though isolated in her district, Axdahl has made herself indispensable.