Minnesota GOP delegates make their secretary of state, auditor endorsements – Duluth News Tribune

ROCHESTER, Minn. GOP candidates for secretary of state and state auditor were endorsed Friday, May 13, by delegates at the Minnesota Republican Party’s state convention in Rochester.

Conservative activist Kim Crockett took the secretary of state endorsement after her only competitor, Kelly Jahner-Byrne, conceded in the race. Crockett said she would commit to “election integrity.” She will face DFL incumbent Steve Simon in November.

The Minnesota Republican Party endorsed Ryan Wilson for auditor. Wilson, who is the only Republican candidate running for that office, won his party’s endorsement by acclamation from delegates. He will run against DFL auditor Julie Blaha in the November general election.

Convention organizers said there is a chance they may hold the first round of voting for governor on Friday night, as electronic voting sped the convention process considerably.

Delegates to the Minnesota Republican Party’s state convention voted electronically after a controversy over the voting system threatened the party’s endorsement process.

Ahead of the convention, some campaigns asserted paper ballots would ensure greater integrity in the voting process than an electronic ballot voting system. Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann said the claims were a ploy to disrupt the convention.

“They’re doing so because they know it’ll make it likely impossible to endorse a candidate,” Hann told delegates Friday as they took up the issue for debate on the floor of the convention.

Some delegates in favor of paper ballots said it would be hypocritical of Republicans to use electronic voting as many candidates are skeptical of electronic voting and campaigning on promises to ensure “election integrity.”

Convention co-chair Sen. David J. Osmek speaks at the Minnesota State Republican Convention on Friday, May 13, 2022, at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Ultimately the convention overwhelmingly backed electronic voting in a standing vote on the convention floor.

The start of the convention Friday morning was delayed, and the original 10 am start time pushed back past 11:30 am as organizers struggled to register attendees on schedule, a majority of whom are attending the state convention for the first time, according to a GOP poll.

Besides the secretary of state and auditor endorsements, the roughly 2,200 delegates were set to vote on party endorsements for attorney general, and select from six candidates for governor. Delegates have until 6 pm Saturday to make endorsements. It’s likely the delegates will have to vote multiple times to reach the 60% support threshold for an endorsement.

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Delegates on Friday morning, May 13, 2022, file into the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota, as long lines delayed the opening of the Minnesota Republican Party’s state convention.

Alex Derosier / Forum News Service

Republican candidates for governor have pledged to honor their party’s endorsement. That means the one who gets the most votes from delegates would be the party’s candidate on the ballot in the primary election 9. The winner of the primary would run against incumbent Democratic-Farmer-Labor Gov. Tim Walz in November.

Candidates vying for the GOP governor endorsement in 2022 include former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka; Scott Jensen, a family practice physician and former senator who opposes vaccine and mask mandates, and Kendall Qualls, a businessman running as a political outsider.

Other candidates include former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy, and Neil Shah, a physician who opposes COVID-19 vaccination mandates. State Sen Michelle Benson withdrew from the race at the end of April.

Four of the five candidates for attorney general are seeking the endorsement at the convention: 2018 candidate and MyPillow general counsel Doug Wardlow, attorney Jim Schultz, former judge Tad Jude and attorney Lynne Torgerson. Candidate Dennis Smith is not seeking the convention endorsement.

On Thursday the state central committee for the Republican party failed to vote on recertifying GOP-affiliate groups, putting their status of being able to participate as delegates at the convention in jeopardy. Those affiliates include groups such as the Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT Republican group, and the Young Republicans.

Many delegates with GOP-affiliate groups had already traveled to the convention and had planned to participate before the state party effectively removed their affiliate status. Ultimately delegates voted to allow the affiliate groups to participate in the endorsement process.

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