Local Republican chair urges participation in Tuesday caucuses

Published 10:31 am Friday, February 3, 2012

Mower County Republican chair Dennis Schminke is hoping for a solid turnout at Tuesday night’s statewide caucus.

“Like-minded people need to get together to make their influence felt,” Schminke said. “Things that happen at the precinct caucus are things that can work their way up through that whole system.”

While much of the caucus is spent conducting party business, it’s also a time to find out who your friends are, as Schminke says.

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It’s a time for area Republicans to congregate and advance ideas that are important to them and their party.

“All parties need to know who their friends are, and people who care enough to come to caucuses are people who are also interested enough, perhaps, to take a phone call and work for a candidate,” Schminke said. “A lot of those people are people who will write a check every once in a while.

“You have these groups to build that little bit of camaraderie.”

Caucuses are important to candidates for that very reason: they can recruit volunteers and donors for their campaigns. According to Schminke, those who attend caucus events are usually more inclined to get further involved.

This year’s caucus could be more influential than some because two major Minnesota seats are up for grabs. Rep. Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both democrats, are up for election, which gives republicans an opportunity to seize more influence nationally, Schminke said.

“We are, by definition, partisan, and we would rather elect republicans than democrats,” he said. “We have a couple of key races in Minnesota this year.”

Mower County Republican caucuses this year will be held in Austin, Racine and LeRoy.

Area residents whose townships are allocated to House District 27A — Lyle, Nevada, Windom, Adams and Marshall — will be grouped together at the Austin caucus to discuss items that apply more directly to them.

Along with conducting a preference poll for the Republican presidential nominee, the caucus will also elect precinct officers for two-year terms.

“I think there will be a lot of interest in who comes out on top of the pile,” Schminke said.

All caucuses held at 7 p.m. on Tues., Feb. 7