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Epic convention leaves Republicans without an answer on congressional race

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under 1st District, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: April 22, 2012 - 11:34 AM

A marathon endorsing convention in southern Minnesota concluded, for now, without a Republican pick to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.

After a dozen hours, and nearly two dozen ballots, First District Republicans gave neither state Sen. Mike Parry or longtime conservative activist Allen Quist with enough votes to claim victory, according to reports in local newspapers. The contest captured Minnesota political geek attention into the wee hours, as reporters and attendees tweeted ballot by ballot news and parliamentary fights that ended at 2 a.m. with plans to resume the fight in a few weeks.

To win the GOP endorsement, Parry or Quist would have needed votes from 60 percent of the vote from convention delegates and neither candidate reached that margin after 23 ballot votes.

The epic fight caused flashbacks of Minnesota convention fights from the ages.

From the Rochester Post Bulletin: "Several said it was the longest battle they could recall since at least 1982 when Tom Hagedorn and Arlen Erdahl squared off. It surpassed the 12 ballots cast in the heated Republican endorsement face-off between Tim Pawlenty and Brian Sullivan in 2002. It also outlasted the 14 ballots in the 1996 GOP endorsement battle for U.S. Senate between Rudy Boschwitz and Bert McKasy." 

From the New Ulm Journal: "It's not the first time a convention has lasted for double digit votes. In 2002, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Brian Sullivan went 12 rounds over 17 hours. Pawlenty eventually won the election. In 1996, Rudy Boschwitz and Bert McKasy went 17 rounds in a U.S. Senate race that ended in no endorsement. Finally, the 1974 8th Congressional District race between Sen. Tony Perpich and Jim Oberstar went 30 to 40 voting rounds over two days."

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