Bills wins GOP nod for U.S. Senate
- Blog Post by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
- May 18, 2012 - 1:28 PM
Freshman state Rep. Kurt Bills quickly won the Republican Party nod for the U.S. Senate.
The supporter of libertarian-leaning Ron Paul came in with the lead, part of Paul's "take over" of Republican activists. He will go on to face popular Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar in November.
Bills is a high school economics teacher with little political experience but pledges a deep work ethic for the fight.
"We're going to be extremely busy," Bills said.
Although he quickly captured the super majority of delegates at Republicans' state convention in St. Cloud, some delegates and other candidates worried about the message his endorsement would send.
Dan Severson, one of his opponents, distributed a flier to delegates suggesting Bills had a "lack of wisdom" for his support for Paul who "does not take a strong stance on marriage and the defense of Israel."
Bills in accepting the endorsement acknowledged some Minnesotans discomfort. He said "these are not extreme views."
"We all believe that Washington needs a good dose of Econ 101 don't we?"
Kurt Bills, Pete Hegseth and Dan Severson acknowledged to the 2,000 GOP state convention delegates that their task to unseat Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a great one. She's polled better than almost any senator in the country and several repeated that she was "nice."
But, Bills said, Minnesota is not electing a "Miss Congeniality" in Washington. He and Hegseth said Klobuchar, who is running for her second term, has voted like an ultra-liberal who has done nothing to improve the economy or reduce the deficit.
"Amy, you promised hope but you gave us NOPE," Bills video said.
Earlier, Hegseth warned: "You do not want to get caught standing between Amy Klobuchar and a photo op."
Hegseth said Democrats aren't the only ones at fault for the country's "mess." Some of the blame also sits with Republicans who campaigned as conservatives but did not govern that way.
"I will be the consistent, courageous, conservative you deserve," said Hegseth, who stressed his family life and military service. "I’m not going to Washington to be popular. I’m going to Washington to lead."
Severson, who has also featured his military experience, was described by his supporter Sen. Paul Gazelka as someone with a "proven Christian character."
Severson, who served in the Legislature and sponsored the constitutional marriage amendment in years it did not pass, said he was the only candidate with name recognition and statewide ground game. He won applause for saying that Republicans need to reach out to minority communities and have failed to do so.
"They love freedom, they love liberty, they love America," Severson said.
© 2013 Star Tribune