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Local Republicans plan a vote of 'no confidence' in MN House Minority Leader

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: January 21, 2014 - 11:15 PM

Update: Local leaders cancel planned 'no confidence' vote in MN House leader after he appeared at meeting

Republican leaders in House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt's district say they plan to take a vote of 'no confidence' in him Tuesday night.

They say he has not led as the fiscal conservative they thought he would be and he has not reached out to them regarding his trouble with law in Montana since he was arrested in September.

"We feel that he does not have our best interest in mind," said Dan Denno, chair of the District 31 Republicans.

Daudt, R-Crown, did not return calls seeking comment for this report on Tuesday afternoon.

Rep. Kurt Daudt// Star Tribune file photo

Rep. Kurt Daudt// Star Tribune file photo

Two weeks ago, Daudt publicly acknowledged that he was involved in a gun-related dispute during a road trip to Montana back in September. Before KSTP-TV reported on the incident, Daudt had not said anything publicly about it.

According to Daudt and public records, on September 7 of last year, Daudt and a 24-year-old friend drove to Montana to buy a vintage Ford Bronco. After picking up the vehicle, Daudt and the seller got into an argument about the Bronco's condition.

As the argument grew heated, Daudt's friend, Daniel Benjamin Weinzetl, allegedly went into Daudt's car, picked up Daudt's loaded handgun and pointed it at the seller and his family, according to court records. Montana police later caught up with Daudt and his friend, who were in separate cars, and handcuffed them both, Daudt was not charged with any crime. Weinzetl was charged three felonies related to the incident.

"Wrapping the whole thing up seems to be very poor judgment," Denno said.

Daudt spoke to some Republican members of the House after the first television report about the incident aired. But Denno and Jack Rogers, a Minnesota Tea Party leader and office holder with Daudt's local Republican group, say he never reached out any of the GOP district leaders about it.

"We should not chase him down and say: 'What’s going on?'" Rogers said. He said that Daudt should have contacted his local leaders to explain what happened. "We know mistakes are going to happen...but it's how you deal with it (that matters.)"

Daudt’s House spokeswoman Susan Closmore said that Daudt, who has refused multiple interview requests from the media since the Montana incident was made public, was not available Tuesday afternoon.

“We won't speculate about something that may or may not be discussed at a regularly scheduled local party meeting,” Closmore said.

Rogers and Denno said that they had not reached out to Daudt either about their questions about the Montana dispute or the planned Tuesday night vote.

The vote will not result in any specific consequences. Instead, it reflects local party leaders’ lack of faith in their elected representative.

Denno said that the local Republican group did invite Daudt to talk about his 2013 support for a capital investment bill and opposed him in that position.

Although the local group will not take the 'no confidence' vote until Tuesday evening, Denno said the group's executive committee has already discussed their plan informally.

"It was basically a question of: Do you think he is doing what we wanted him to as a group? And basically the answer was no," Denno said.

Tuesday night they plan to add more heft to that answer by taking a formal vote.

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