A Rosemount High School economics teacher, Bills, 42, is in his first term as a state representative. He has secured the endorsement of former presidential candidate Ron Paul and Paul's son Rand Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky. That could make Bills the heavy favorite in Friday's endorsement contest, where Paul supporters have attempted to lock down as many delegate spots as possible. Bills also has the backing of House Speaker Kurt Zellers -- who was an enthusiastic backer of Paul's presidential campaign -- and a large number of fellow legislators.


A 31-year-old combat veteran from Stillwater who has served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hegseth is a first-time candidate. He was a senior instructor at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul for the Minnesota Army National Guard and went on to serve as executive director of the conservative interest group, Vets for Freedom, and as an analyst for Fox News. He has been endorsed by former presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Minnesota U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz.


Severson, 57, is a former state House Republican whip and former secretary of state candidate. The Sauk Rapids native is a Navy veteran and fighter pilot and served four terms in the House. Severson has been endorsed by political commentator Dick Morris, a one-time Clinton adviser turned GOP consultant.