County GOP picks Bush at caucuses

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2000

George W.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000

George W. Bush was the choice of Mower County Republicans Tuesday night.

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The Texas governor received 48 votes in a presidential preference straw poll of delegates to the Mower County GOP precinct caucus at Austin High School.

U.S. Sen. John McCain received 10 and Allan Keyes, 9.

Meanwhile, Bush was the winner at the GOP caucus held at Racine Tuesday night. He received 6 votes to 2 for McCain and 1 for Keyes, according to Clarence Klenke.

Every township and municipality east of Adams and represented by State Sen. Kenric Scheevel and State Rep. Greg Davids holds its caucus activity at Racine.

The Mower County Republican Party holds caucuses in Austin for the western half of the county and Racine for the eastern half. There are 36 precincts in the county.

Davids spoke to the GOP members gathered Tuesday night at the Racine City Hall.

When both the Austin and Racine totals were added, Bush had 54 votes in Mower County, McCain, 12, and Keyes, 10.

In the Republican Party, the straw vote results are not binding to delegates elected to county and state conventions, but the preferences usually hold true all the way to the national GOP convention and that’s what the Mower County GOP chairman hopes will happen.

"Naturally, I’m pleased with the results of the straw poll," said Walter Baldus, Mower County Republican Party chairman and head of the Bush for President committee in the county. "But, as far as the precinct caucus goes, I’m even more pleased that we had such a good turnout tonight. It’s good to see people get involved."

The precinct caucus saw two Republican hopefuls pay a visit. U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht and Grace Schwab, candidate for state Senate District No. 27, were guest speakers.

Gutknecht said he attended a meeting of small businessmen Tuesday morning and heard one say, "I’m not sure it makes a difference, but I’m glad you’re here."

That set the First District congressman to thinking about "making a difference" all day long.

"What we do tonight won’t change the world, but it will make a difference," he said.

Then, Gutknecht briefly detailed how the Republican Party made a difference in 1994, when Gutknecht and 73 other Republicans were elected to Congress, giving the party the majority.

The congressman said he supports Bush’s candidacy for the presidency.

Gutknecht encouraged local Republicans to support the candidacy of Schwab, who is seeking the party’s endorsement to run for the Senate seat held by Pat Piper, the Austin DFLer.

Schwab talked tough, saying, "The Senate is unresponsive because liberals control it."

Then, she detailed how the DFL Party has stifled the state. "If it moves, regulate it they believe," she said. "If it’s mediocre, reward it. If it makes good sense, abolish it."

Schwab said she would work to change that.

Not every precinct table had a delegate and the Lyle table had only one: Genevieve Greibrok.

"I would say I’m almost a regular at precinct caucuses. I’ve missed some, but not many," she said. "I agree with the congressman. Getting involved does make a difference.

The Lyle woman voted for Keyes in the presidential preference straw poll.

The business of the convention after the straw poll was to consider resolutions and elect delegates to the county convention. Geoff Baker, Mower County GOP vice chairman, steered the precinct caucus party faithful through the processes Tuesday night.

Republicans will hold their county convention March 18, beginning at 9 a.m. at Ellis Middle School in Austin.

On April 6, Republicans will gather again at Ellis Middle School, also at 9 a.m., when the Senate district endorsing convention is scheduled.