Republicans Saturday afternoon pivoted full tilt to their picks for governor as they started to sort through a crowded field of men seeking endorsement.
The task may be lengthy.
Michelle Manke, a delegate from Roseville, said despite the length of Friday and Saturday's Senate endorsement process, it's unlikely the Minnesota GOP will rush through the governor's endorsement.
The same is true, she said, for the governor's office.
Voting was set to begin shortly after 4 p.m. and many candidates were in the running:
A former House Minority Leader from Marshall, Seifert opened his message to delegates with a popular question: “Who is ready to beat Mark Dayton this fall?” He promised if he wins, he will be the people’s servant not their boss. Seifert, who first won his House seat when he was in his early 20's, first ran for governor in 2010 but delegates refused him. This time, he will take the fight all the way to a primary.
In front of delegates on Saturday, he called Dayton a “liberal huckster who tried to sell an elixir of big government and higher taxes” whom he could defeat by appealing to Democrats and independents. His advice to voters: “You don’t have to switch your party, vote for Marty.”
A special education teacher from northern Minnesota, Rob Farnsworth has run a low-key campaign much like that of Senate candidate Philip Parrish, who captured votes in early voting Friday.
“We are Republicans and there are some things that are still worth fighting for,” Farnsworth said, citing abortion, domestic spying, and traditional marriage and gun rights.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who took the stage with the sound of a boxing ring’s bell, told delegates he would be a fighter for Minnesota. He said that he has roots in greater Minnesota and has spent years working in the urban core, “Not asking for votes but trying to solve problems.”
“You have taken these good people for granted for one election too long. We will not concede Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2014 to the Democrats,” Johnson said.
Dave Thompson, a state senator from Lakeville and former radio host, preached a smaller government message that would “change the face of Minnesota.”
“We are institutionalizing liberalism…We have given the cradle to our government and we must take it back,” Thompson said to big cheers.
Two contenders did not appeal to delegates on Saturday. Both former House Speaker Kurt Zellers and businessman Scott Honour, who had long vowed to run in a primary, declined to put their names into nomination for endorsement.
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