Friday, May 18, 2012

MN-SEN: State Rep. Kurt Bills Wins Republican Endorsement

Originally published in Red Racing Horses.

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On the second ballot at the state convention in Saint Cloud this weekend, the results for the senatorial endorsement:

2135 delegates voted on the first ballot.
Kurt Bills- 1135 (53%)
Dan 'Doc' Severson- 501 (23%)
Pete Hegseth- 450 (21%)
Harold Shudlick- 36
Bob Carney- 26
Shudlick and Carney were dropped.

Second ballot:
Bills 1353 (64.15%)
Severson 20.82%
Hegesth 14.98%
Although a few Paul supporters went for Severson or Hegseth, Bills had the lion's share of that constituency. He rode the Paul organization to victory here, coupled with some broader appeal beyond the movement (he was endorsed by 34 legislators, while only 4 publicly endorsed Paul).
Bills raised below $100k in the first quarter, while incumbent Senator Klobuchar (DFL) is sitting on over $5 million. In 2008 President Obama won 54% of the vote here to McCain's ~44%. In 2006 Amy Klobuchar won the open seat over then-Rep. Mark Kennedy 58%-38%. So this seat starts out likely DFL at best and safe DFL at worst.

Tomorrow the state convention will be voting on national delegates. More on that process will come after the fact.

EDIT: Important detail I forgot to include. Both Severson and Hegseth pledged to abide by the endorsement, so unless either backs out of the pledge there will not a competitive primary. There are rumors Hegseth, who had the strongest fundraising among Republicans in the field, is considering a primary challenge, but as far as I can tell they do not have much substance behind them.

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