Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New blood revitalizes SD 43

When it came time on Saturday at Wayzata East Middle School in Plymouth to elect 76 delegates and alternates from SD 43 (Plymouth and northern Minnetonka) to the Third Congressional District and state conventions of the Republican Party of Minnesota, 147 candidates stepped up to the microphone for their fifteen seconds of fame.

The enthusiasm of first-time participants in the BPOU convention, elected at their precinct caucuses on Super Tuesday, February 5, was palpable. There were men and women of various ages, old timers who helped to elect retiring Congressman Jim Ramstad to the Minnesota House, and new parents with babies in tow (including 2006 HD 43B candidate Dave Johnson, and incumbent HD 43A Rep. Sarah Anderson, who were acknowledged by convention chairwoman and 2006 SD 43 candidate Judy Johnson).

Virtually every would-be delegate spoke earnestly of shared conservative values: smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, the culture of life. The mood was a mixture of a relaxed gathering of like-minded friends, combined with a sense of urgency to counter those who believe that government, not the individual, is the solution to our problems.

Former SD 43 senator and gubernatorial chief-of-staff David Gaither gave a stirring call for candidates to challenge incumbent Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) this fall. The BPOU will soon be vetting candidates for the endorsement; they were not ready for an endorsement on Saturday.

Sarah Anderson was endorsed by acclamation for re-election to her seat in the House. Her address to the convention revealed a thoughtful, dedicated Republican legislator with conservative values, as her husband listened in the delegate area with their infant son.

Ramstad expressed heartfelt valedictory thank-yous to his hometown BPOU, and honored long-time SD 43 chairman Frank Weir with a Waterford crystal replica of the U.S. Capitol dome. Ramstad's would-be successor, current state Rep. Erik Paulsen, gave a lively stump speech. One of the delegates from my precinct wondered out loud whether Paulsen is a conservative; had I been online I could have reassured him with Paulsen's 91% rating from the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, and 100% from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and Hennepin County Commissioner candidate and former representative from HD 43A Jeff Johnson also addressed the convention. I got to shake the hand of another notable member of SD 43, two-term U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz.

There are a lot of conservatives in SD 43 — more than anyone had realized — who are annoyed enough at the tax-raising, invasive government types in the current legislative majority to sacrifice part of a Saturday to show up to a meeting. They showed up on Saturday ready to work for candidates up and down the ticket. I hope that the various Republican party units will have the wherewithal to make the new people feel welcome, reenergize the veteran ground troops, and mobilize Saturday's abundant energy and goodwill during the eight months between now and Election Day.

1 comment:

Master of None said...


I saw you at the SD43 convention. I should have introduced myself, but you looked busy.

Do you have a picture of Ramstad at the podium behind the orange and black Paulsen sign? That was a powerful image.

I wish I would have remembered to bring my camera.

Bill Krause Plymouth