New GOP chair assembles team to help dig out of debt

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  • April 12, 2013 - 5:28 PM

Keith Downey, the new Republican Party chair, assembled a mix of new names and old names helping him raise and track party cash.

After a rough few years, the party has nearly $1.7 million in debt, down from a high of nearly $2 million.

Downey, who was elected on Saturday, appointed Brandon Sawalich as chairman of the party's Finance Committee and hired Dana Alpeter as the party’s fundraiser. He also appointed Robbie Burkhart as the finance committee vice chair.

Bron Scherer, who took over as treasurer as the party was righting its books last year, will remain as treasurer.

Sawalich, senior vice president of Starkey Hearing Technologies, has a long history raising and donating to Republican causes. He briefly ran for Republican Party chair in 2011, after the former chair suddenly resigned. He is president of the Minnesota Freedom Club, which spent nearly $2 million last year to elect Republican lawmakers and defeat Democratic ones.

The party said Burkhart is the CEO and CIO of Blue Rock Advisors and Alpeter "is a small business owner who joined the Minnesota fundraising effort of Mitt Romney for the 2012 election cycle."




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