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Theodore Christianson

Theodore Christianson

In office
January 6, 1925 – January 6, 1931
Lieutenant William I. Nolan
Charles E. Adams
Preceded by J. A. O. Preus
Succeeded by Floyd B. Olson

Born September 12, 1883(1883-09-12)
Lac qui Parle Township, Minnesota

Minnesota United States

Died December 9, 1948 (aged 65)
Dawson, Minnesota

Minnesota United States

Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ruth E. Donaldson (1st)
Mayme Bialeschki Bundy (2nd)
Profession lawyer, publisher
Religion Presbyterian

Theodore Christianson (September 12, 1883 – December 9, 1948) was an American politician. He served as the 21st Governor of Minnesota from January 6, 1925 until January 6, 1931, and did not seek re-election. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from March 4, 1933 to January 3, 1937 in the 73rd and 74th congresses. He was a Republican.

Born in Lac qui Parle Township, Minnesota, Christianson graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1909.[1] "More Ted, Less Taxes" was the campaign promise of Theodore Christianson when he ran for governor in 1924. "Tightwad Ted," as he was affectionately dubbed, kept his word. During his administration, he limited taxes and cut expenditures at every level of state government. Voters—in a conservative mood after the turmoil of World War I—expressed their approval of his cautious fiscal policy and his disdain for socialism by re-electing him twice.

Efficiency was as crucial as thrift to Minnesota's twenty-first governor and he incorporated both priorities in his 1925 Reorganization Act. To firm up a flabby bureaucracy, he appointed a three-man Commission of Administration and Finance. This so-called "Big Three" unleashed the veto power of the chief executive, who slashed budget appropriations he considered extravagant.

Before entering politics, Christianson had pursued dual careers in western Minnesota, where he both practiced law and was for 15 years the editor and publisher of the Dawson Sentinel. Five consecutive terms as a Republican legislator convinced him that government reorganization was in order.

Christianson's bid for nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1930 failed as he lost the Republican nomination to incumbent Thomas Schall, and he left politics temporarily. During a three-year hiatus, the former newspaperman continued to serve his native state by writing its history, a five-volume work published in 1935 (Minnesota: The Land of Sky-Tinted Waters: A History of the State and its People). He rounded out his public career with two terms in Congress. In 1936, he did not run for re-election to the House; instead he ran for Senate again. Receiving the Republican nomination, he ran against former Congressman Ernest Lundeen of the Farmer Labor Party and was defeated, receiving 37% of the vote.

Later, Christianson moved to Chicago and an executive position with a national trade association. He had recently retired to Dawson, Minnesota when he died of a heart attack while trying to start his car on a winter night. He was 65 years old.


  1. ^ Corrine Charais, Political Action Among Alumni, Perspectives, Spring 2007 (page 18).
Political offices
Preceded by
J. A. O. Preus
21st Governor of Minnesota
1925 – 1931
Succeeded by
Floyd B. Olson
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
General Ticket Adopted
U.S. Representative from Minnesota
General Ticket Seat Three

1933 –1935
Succeeded by
General Ticket Abolished
Preceded by
General Ticket Abolished
U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 5th congressional district
1935 – 1937
Succeeded by
Dewey Johnson


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