GOP legislator who voted for same-sex marriage loses party endorsement

  • Updated: February 22, 2014 - 11:08 PM

Eric Lucero

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GOP state Rep. David FitzSimmons of Albertville failed to win party endorsement for a second term Saturday, an outcome seen as a victory for those who deplored his vote to legalize same-sex marriage.

Delegates to the Wright County GOP convention instead backed Eric Lucero, a Dayton City Council member and technology manager who had hammered the first-term legislator on his support for same-sex marriage.

According to Lucero’s website, the challenger won endorsement on the first ballot with 74 percent of the vote.

FitzSimmons, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, has said that he stood by his marriage vote but that he would abide by the party’s endorsement.

“Losing is a distinct possibility,” he said last week.

The Minnesota Family Council hailed FitzSimmons’ defeat, saying that he had betrayed his constituents by running on a platform supporting traditional marriage and then voting to change the law.

In a statement to the Star Tribune last week, Lucero said that residents “do not trust David FitzSimmons to accurately represent them.”

But the contest divided Republicans between Lucero and FitzSimmons, considered a budget hawk who had the backing of former legislator and gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. FitzSimmons has consistently opposed abortion, taxes and new spending.

FitzSimmons also won endorsement from the political arm of Voices of Conservative Women, the first time the group backed a man.

He represents District 30B, which covers parts of Wright and Sherburne counties. In 2012, 53 percent of voters in the district supported the failed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Besides FitzSimmons, three House Republicans broke ranks to support gay marriage. Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury decided not to run for re-election, and no endorsement challenges have arisen yet for Pat Garofalo of Farmington and Jenifer Loon of Eden Prairie.

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