Archived Story

GOP to pick 1st District candidate Saturday

Published 10:10am Friday, April 4, 2014

The Minnesota 1st District Republican endorsing convention on Saturday could go well into the evening or even early Sunday if there’s a repeat of the last convention.

While the party’s leaders hope the convention will not continue into the evening like it did in 2012, they are ready to go however long it takes for delegates to come up with an endorsement, said Minnesota 1st District Republican Chairwoman Carol Stevenson.

The winner has to obtain 60 percent of votes from 278 delegates.

“We have three great candidates, and they have all been working hard to garner support,” Stevenson said.

The convention starts at 9:30 a.m. at Southwest Middle School.

Hoping to face off against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato, are hospital account manager Aaron Miller of Byron, Blue Earth businessman Jim Hagedorn and Rochester state Rep. Mike Benson.

Stevenson said all three candidates have agreed to abide by the endorsement. That means they won’t continue their campaigns going up to the Aug. 12 primary election. Instead, they intend to throw their support behind whoever receives the nomination.

In 2012, the 1st District endorsing convention went past midnight as delegates were split on whether former state Rep. Allen Quist of St. Peter or state Sen. Mike Parry of Waseca should face off against incumbent Walz.

The delegates ended the night without an endorsement after more than a dozen ballots.

Stevenson said officials this year are expecting a big turnout. In 2012, there were more than 800 people at the convention, including delegates, alternates, volunteers and others.

People who are not delegates can come and watch after registering as a guest and paying a $10 fee.

In addition to the endorsement, Republican candidates for governor, state auditor and U.S. Senate will be in attendance to make presentations.

The delegates will vote on resolutions for changes to the Republican Party platform.

Democrats are holding conventions this spring, too, but they are incumbents in the state and federal offices representing Albert Lea: U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor, state senator and state representative. There is little doubt DFLers will nominate Al Franken, Tim Walz, Mark Dayton, Dan Sparks, Jeanne Poppe and Shannon Savick, respectively.

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