Paul Scofield beat Roger Champagne in the GOP primary for the right to challenge DFL Sen. Ron Latz.
Perhaps the wackiest result in last week's west metro primaries came in the District 46 GOP race, where fiscal conservatives Paul Scofield and Roger Champagne duked it out for the right to challenge DFL state Sen. Ron Latz of St. Louis Park.
Scofield surprised a candidate forum in St. Louis Park in late July when he announced in his opening statement that he was backing Champagne in the primary election.
Scofield said that Champagne should be the Republican candidate because he had more time for the job -- Champagne plans to retire soon as a Minneapolis firefighter -- and because Republicans needed to unite to beat Latz.
Not to mention the fact that there was very little on which Scofield and Champagne disagreed. Scofield says his views are in line with many of the Tea Party's, and Champagne calls himself "a little Ron Paul, a little Libertarian."
There was one small hitch. It was too late for Scofield to be taken off the ballot. Still, it seemed the path was clear for a Champagne victory.
"I'd gotten to know Roger pretty well and it seemed like he was a pretty good candidate and he had a lot more time than I did," Scofield said. "I've got a full-time job and kids. It just seemed that he would be a more effective campaigner. So I advised everyone to vote for Roger."
Not everyone got the message. When the dust cleared Tuesday, it was Scofield who had won. He captured 544 votes in the light turnout, compared to Champagne's 420.
"I was a little disappointed," Champagne said. "But even when he endorsed me, I always knew that I had a primary to win. I always thought it was going to be close."
Scofield, a Golden Valley software engineer and math teacher, said he's going ahead with the race against Lutz, who beat him by a wide margin two years ago.
"I guess I'm not doing a Sherman. I'm somewhat elected, so I guess I'll serve," he said, referring to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's 1884 statement that he would not accept nomination for president and would not serve if elected.
Champagne, who said he knocked on thousands of doors in the district and wore out shoes dropping out campaign literature, had one word of advice for Republican candidates in the west metro area: ease up on opposition to same-sex marriage.
"People want to vote for a fiscal conservative kind of guy, but the social issues are just killing us," he said. "Gay people in general are conservative, hard-working people. They lean toward the Republican Party, but they don't get that extra support that they want. I can't blame them."