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Republican Senate race: 'Big unknown'

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota congressional, Minnesota governor, Republicans Updated: May 31, 2014 - 10:38 AM

Bleary-eyed but coffee-drenched Republican delegates regrouped in Rochester Saturday morning with aims to pick a candidate for U.S. Senate and governor.

The 2,000 GOP activists worked to select a Senate candidate from Friday afternoon until nearly 2 a.m. Saturday before calling it quits.

As hopeful after hopeful fell from contention, they narrowed down their choices to just two possible picks. On Saturday morning, the delegates will choose whether to back Sunfish Lake businessman Mike McFadden or St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg.

Dahlberg presented himself as someone who could stand true on issues and could win over Democratic voters. Unlike McFadden, he has pledged to drop out if delegates do not select him.

"Let's get it done!" Dahlberg told delegates, as they prepared to take up balloting again Saturday morning. "I will abide by the endorsement. No gray issues."

He smacked McFadden for flip-flopping on key issues during the campaign.

"If they change their position in six months, what's going to happen in Washington, DC in six years," Dahlberg said.

McFadden, his voice flagging, his energy renewed, promised delegates he was true to the issues about which they care.

"Not only am I pro-life. I've lived it," McFadden said, gesturing to his six kids.

McFadden, who, unlike Dahlberg, has raised millions for his campaign, also sought to ensure he could win in November.

"I am the candidate, undoubtedly, without an exception, to beat Al Franken," McFadden said.

Delegates were hopeful they could sort out their Senate pick.

"I'd like to see it done," said Phil Hartwig, a Republican delegate who ran for governor in 2010. But can they? "That's the big unknown."

After the Senate fight, they were expected to turn to the contested governor's race. In the governor's race, they planned to pick among four candidates Saturday afternoon -- teacher Rob Farnsworth, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson and former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert.

Follow our live blog until the decision-making is done below:

 

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