GOP selects Miller to challenge Rep. Walz

Published 4:20 pm Saturday, April 5, 2014

ALBERT LEA — Delegates of the 1st District Republican Convention voted Saturday in favor of Aaron Miller as the nominee to face incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato.




Miller, a senior account hospital manager with Revo Biologic and a command sergeant major in the Army Reserves, said being “a private-sector guy” is his leading strength heading into the general election. Secondly, he has worked in health care for 15 years and wants to see Republicans provide alternatives to Obamacare, rather than call for repeals.

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“We’re happy and humble to have the support of the convention,” Miller said.

He said someone told him to send Walz, a teacher, back to the classroom.

“Let’s not. Let’s send him into retirement,” Miller said.

Miller garnered the nomination after the third ballot, when he faced off against Jim Hagedorn, a Blue Earth businessman. Mike Benson, a state representative from Rochester, dropped out after the second ballot.

Convention rules dictated that the nominee receive 60 percent. The result of the third ballot, which came at about 2 p.m, handed 56 percent to Miller and 44 percent to Hagedorn. At that point, Hagedorn stepped to the podium and asked for a motion to give Miller the nomination unanimously. A motion was made, and Jim Hahn, co-chairman of the convention, called for a rising vote. Everyone stood, and Miller was the Republican nominee.

Hagedorn said when he had said he wanted to defeat Walz, he meant it, and added the Republicans needed to leave the convention united. The moves by Hagedorn and Benson were unlike two years ago in Mankato, when retired St. Peter farmer and former state Rep. Allen Quist and state Sen. Mike Parry of Waseca fought through 23 rounds of balloting over nearly 14 hours. Even then, neither candidate abided by the nomination and the battle continued to the August primary. This time, all three candidates had agreed to abide by the nomination.

The candidates spoke to the delegates prior to the voting.

Miller said America is still the land of opportunity and hopes to bring Minnesota back to prominence. He was joined by an army of young people at the convention.

Freeborn County Republican Jerrold Dettle said the movement toward youth is what earned Miller the nomination. He said he was excited about the Republican Party’s outlook going into the general election.

“Aaron Miller did a great job bring youth to the party, and he deserves the nomination,” Dettle said.

Hagedorn told the convention that more power needs to be in the hands of the states and the people, rather than the federal government.

“We need to make changes to this country or we will lose it,” he said.

He also cautioned about federal agencies spying on the American people.

“We need a country where the people know more about the government than than government knows about the people,” Hagedorn said.

Benson said he wanted to hold Walz accountable for his support of the Affordable Care Act, cap and trade and his tax policies.

Miller’s next step? He begins a media tour on Monday.