Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Home opener

Ryan Rutzick (campaign photo)
Ryan Rutzick
With the rolling back of the tarps to reveal the grassroots of the Minnesota political parties at the precinct caucuses, we named our starting lineups (precinct officers and delegates to the BPOU convention) and debated party platform planks. Last Saturday at Wayzata High School, Senate District 44 Republicans met at their convention to endorse candidates, elect delegates to the Third Congressional District and state conventions, and generally perpetuate the American experiment of self-government.

Delegates endorsed incumbent HD44A Rep. Sarah Anderson for reelection, while small business owner Ryan Rutzick won the endorsement for the open seat in HD44B. Anderson is the well-loved and respected, hard-working four-term representative from Plymouth. Newcomer Rutzick introduced himself and his family with enthusiasm and a commanding public presence. He seems to have the energy, determination, and communication skills to connect with voters and finish the campaign season marathon that will begin in earnest after the legislature adjourns sine die in April or so.

Meanwhile, Kelsey Johnson (@kelsaljohnson) reported via Twitter that our counterparts in the DFL apparently adjourned their convention without endorsing any of the three candidates vying to succeed the retiring Rep. John Benson in HD44B. Johnson also reported that the Dems endorsed Audrey Britton to again challenge Sarah Anderson in HD44A.

I am happy to report that my Plymouth precinct had a full delegation present, but not so happy to report that none of our fellow House District 44B precincts did. Many candidates for Congressional district and state convention delegate from "the B side" revealed their support for Jeff Johnson for governor, while others said they were undecided. (The Johnson campaign was the only campaign to circulate a "slate," which is a list of delegates pledged to endorse him at the state convention.) Most delegate candidates seemed to be still vetting the U.S. Senate candidates, but most who mentioned a name said they were supporting or "leaning toward" fourth-term Minnesota Sen. Julianne Ortman (SD47). Sen. Ortman mingled with delegates Saturday morning as they registered for the convention, grabbed a Caribou coffee and a doughnut, and made their way to their seats.

The ever-present Rep. Erik Paulsen (CD3) greeted delegates as usual — it seems he never misses an SD44 convention, and like his predecessor Jim Ramstad, is always accompanied by his orange-shirted campaign staff. Paulsen will stand for his endorsement vote at the Third Congressional District Convention on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at Maple Grove Senior High School.

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