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Rowdy Minnesota Republicans Elect district/state delegates, conduct party business Saturday

 “. . . , the necessary things, the ones that matter the most, are always hard. If not, then they wouldn’t be worth the effort!” Leonard Griffith, Olmsted County GOP Treasurer and county caucus delegate.

We got a live look today at how real grass roots politics is conducted in Olmsted County, Minnesota Saturday. In the rural town of Byron, west of Rochester, the county GOP met to elect delegates to the district and state conventions, hear  their local politicians speak and to vote on party resolutions and planks. The county is one in three steps leading to the state Caucus which takes place in May.

In a day long exercise in frustration at Byron Middle School, delegates argued over minutia language in resolutions meant to be the party plank and tempers flared as other delegates new to the process complained that the day’s business was taking too long. Forty resolutions produced in the statewide caucus held last month were presented for a vote, many of which were voted on and approved by ballot. A few left-overs and new proposals too controversial to get the required two-thirds vote were discussed in a committee of the whole. Only half of those were voted on and the rest tabled as the end of the day drew near. Those will be held over and presented at the district and state level meetings as time permits.

The most frustrating of the day’s business was the election of delegates to the district convention that takes place in April and state delegates to the state convention coming up May 18. Libertarians and Ron Paul supporters figured prominently in this process as they attempted to elect many of their delegates who were nominated from the floor. The list of approved candidates came from a green sheet of paper issued by Alan Quist, a Republican House Candidate who will oppose Representative Tim Walz in November.

The nomination committee, a board of four at the county level, presented ballots for all of the associated districts of Olmsted County with pre-printed names approved by the party and nominated beforehand. The ballots also included blanks where other members nominated from the floor for the separate districts could be included. Well within their rights to do so according to party rules, Libertarians in the party blitzkreiged the ballot box and nominated their own delegates in attempt to increase their voting power at the district and state levels. The reasoning, as far as I can tell, is that the disregarded and disenfranchised Libertarians feel that the only way to usurp the establishment GOP and what they feel are out of touch politicians is to fill the delegation to the state caucus with people who will declare themselves for Ron Paul and no other candidate.

This blatant move angered some delegates who felt that party members of longstanding proven service should be given preference over Johnny-come-latelys. The focus, they feel, is to elect delegates that will support the party as a whole and not any one candidate do or die.

Squabbling over who will go to the next level caucus and the language of this or that resolution took a long time to sort out and at the end of the day, the business wasn’t fully concluded as we ran out of time. I can only surmise that some went away frustrated with the process, not fully comprehending what exactly happened.

My own frustration lay in that I was only elected as an alternate delegate rather than a fully seated delegate at the district. Not to fear, however. I’m sure there will be a lot of frustrated people elected as delegates who will for some reason or other will decide not to show up, allowing me and some of the rest of the committed alternates to be fully seated.

I remarked to a fellow delegate that with all the squabbling and infighting amongst Republicans, people who should for the most part share the same ideals of small, accountable government, freedom, low taxes, low government regulation and interference and entrepreneurship and rugged individualism, if we who agree on all that can be so painfully divided then how can members of the same congress or the executive branch get along enough to conduct the nation’s business as they come from different parties and vastly different worldviews?

My father, also a delegate for the day’s business from the small town of Stewartville, always comments to me, “son, the necessary things, the ones that matter the most, are always hard. If not, then they wouldn’t be worth the effort!” He’s right of course, and while today’s business was nosebleed hard, and blood shooting out of my eyeballs exasperating, was still very necessary and important. Our candidates have to get on the ballot somehow, and this is the grassroots level process to see that the best candidates are pushed forward.

The frustration experienced at the caucus was not the fault of the salty old dogs running the show or their process. In fact, as far as the way the business was conducted, I thought that it was very translucent, fair and smooth. Delegates elected from the last caucus showed up and were for the most part pre-registered on the Internet or snail mail. When they arrived, they were met by workers armed with laptop computers with lists of the names of those pre-registered. After being properly received and credentialed, the delegates were seated. Those who were not pre-registered paid their dues at the door and were seated without a fuss.

Lunch was excellent and took place in the school gymnasium. Coffee and donuts were sold for a dollar at the door. Tellers were well-equipped and trained and used their technology to tally votes and display via the big screen at the front of the room. The results of the votes were revealed in real time. Seating was well marked with clear signage and it was easy to find your seat. I found mine in the front row center, Rochester Ward One, Precinct Two. Four of us showed up, filling out our coalition, two conservatives and two libertarians. I counted votes and shared the results with my fellow delegates who double checked my work. Easy cheesy.

All in all, the Olmsted County GOP executed a very complicated process and made it look very easy and smooth. We the delegates made the day frustrating with our attempts to muddy the water with our pet project resolutions and our petty arguments about who has priority over whom to be a delegate to the next level. This level of organizations is a credit to GOP Chairman Bruce Kaskubar and his team of salty dog Republicans, many of whom are current and former state representatives and senators. Those include County Co-Chair Bill Kuisle, and former Representative Fran Bradley who MC’d the event, just to name a few. A local M.D. who attended a special course to become acquainted with Rogers Rules played the role as our parliamentarian and did a great job as far as I was concerned. I only regret I didn’t learn his name.

My dad continued with my civics lesson as I watched him conduct himself as both a delegate and as treasurer for the county GOP. I was so proud of him today. It was a pleasure to watch him in action.

Today’s business was hard, but not as hard as winning our freedom at this country’s founding or keeping it when the wolves of the world continually knock at the door. I hope that my fellow delegates in time see that, if they don’t already, and I hope they continue to plough through the rough ground to the ultimate goal, unseating a haughty Obama administration and the bevy of crony capitalists and lefty loons, replacing them with rock-ribbed conservative and libertarian leaders. I share this information with you dear reader, not to bore you with the inner workings of Olmsted County, but to remind you that similar battles of will are going on in your own communities right now, probably without your knowledge. I suggest if you don’t like the candidates presented to you at the state or federal level, then it’s your own damn fault for missing the necessary, hard, but worthwhile grassroots political process. You only have yourselves to blame, so please, stop complaining and get involved.

That’s all I ask.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    FYI, the state party HQ has been in desperate need over the past couple of weeks for people to help with data entry of PCRC forms.

    According to my sources, a vast majority of the volunteers that have been helping the party with this effort at the HQ in St. Paul have been Ron Paul’s supporters.

    Kind of ironic, don’t you think?

  2. ben says:

    Will the Paul supportors support the Republican candidate if it other than Paul or will they just stay home. A third party candidate will guarantee an obama re-election this is a major concern.

    • Cullen says:

      I will and I’ve been trying to talk other Ron Paul hard cores into this. I hear a lot of, why does it matter the other candidates are Diet Obama. I say,if you need to lose some weight diet soda better then regular.
      For a lot of these paulians, it took a man of virtue and integrity to get them involved. If he wasn’t in it they would be saying, why does it matter? Even if they are republican they say one thing and do another(crooked politicians). When your honest and fight for what you believe in, people will be honest and fight for you. I don’t agree with all of Ron Paul views but I do believe in him

    • Richard says:

      Will the GOP nominate another candidate who doesn’t adhere to the platform that the delegation spends so much time fighting over? If they nominate a candidate who doesn’t even adhere to the basic republican principles of limited government, indvidual liberty, and fiscal responsibility, why should that candidate get anyone’s vote? So he can “win”? What is winning when you’ve already given up everything you are supposed to stand for? Bailouts, government healthcare, deficit spending, horrendous abuse of civil liberties (FISA, NDAA, Patriot Act, and now HR 347) are not in the republican platform. But there is only one candidate who has a record of being and stands today against these things.

      • Cullen says:

        You are totally right my friend Ron Paul are no one. Just trying to turn other reps by positive reinfocement

  3. Ben says:

    The “local MD” was Dr. Fred Nobrega… and he was also a member of the nominating committee.

    A word to the wise: “the disregarded and disenfranchised Libertarians feel that the only way to usurp the establishment GOP and what they feel are out of touch politicians is to fill the delegation to the state caucus with people who will declare themselves for Ron Paul and no other candidate.”

    Politics is a winner take all sport… this election is about restoring our Constitution, about restoring American liberties, and about restoring our free-market system. To accomplish this, we as Republicans must nominate and elect as delegates individuals firmly committed to these things. To express surprise that the supporters of Ron Paul sought to (and did) win a majority of Olmsted County’s delegate share, and to denigrate this organizational feat, is poor sport. There were no “Libertarians” present at the county convention, there were “(l)ibertrian Republicans” or “constitutional conservatives”… a Libertarian is a member of a party, a libertarian is an ideological strain of constitutionally limited government.

    See you at the State convention.

  4. Dan says:

    I went through the process because I care about my country and the people of this great country that is getting destroyed by people that try to control the votes to there pleasing. I was really upset about the GOP leaders picking the delegates before the convention to me a group of people talked about how they can get delegates that support there candidate and found a way to get them in I have the same right to be on top of that list as anybody else. I’ve put my work in and payed my dues you should not be able to pick and choose. We went there to vote the people we wanted in not the ones you choose for us I felt like I was robbed from my chance to be a delegate. If you have the first ten people picked out odds are most people will circle those first ones and not even know why they did. They knew the Ron Paul people were coming and tried to keep us out. We are all equal and have the same right to be delegates as everyone else. It seemed to me there was a plan to get less Ron Paul supporters on to the next level. I keep hearing it’s about the Party not just one person but they sure like to gang up on Paul trying to keep him out. That just proves to me that you should not have the responsibilities you have we all Matter not just the ones with more experience we want to be a part of this and the ones leading all of this don’t want us there so they can control things to the way they want to and for the people they choose.I will become a part of this process and do what I can to change the BS that is going on We are coming the younger generation is coming and we are pissed when we get in then maybe we can get our country back and honer the constitution since most Republicans don’t care about it anymore lately it seems like most Repretendacans keep voting for less freedom and bigger Gov. and more spending it has to stop or someday soon the people will fight back and maybe the world will end as we know it in Dec. 2012. Isn’t it weird the it is right after the election.If anyone gets in but Paul then nothing will change so it don’t matter and that is why nobody else will get the Ron Paul votes so if you don’t pick Ron Paul then you will lose anyway Paul or nothing the only REAL change

    • Dan says:

      Just like bush he is not a real conservative. they will tell you what you want to hear and as soon as they get in office they do the opposite. they are all puppets and the people will never get it i guess the only one with a great record and is the most consistent and could NEVER be bought is Ron Paul and if you don’t know that then you know nothing about him.

  5. Tuella says:

    To make a correction to your comments, the green sheets handed out had nothing to do with Libertarians or Ron Paul supporters. The Quist slate was not a Libertarian slate (Allen Quist is not a Libertarian). Nor was it a Ron Paul slate. The Quist campaign is supported by people representing all presidential candidates, as obvious from the people on his slate.

  6. Cullen says:

    I support Ron Paul and am new to the political agenda and schedule. Do I know what’s after one meeting to the next-No. Am I learning-Yes. Geez instead of looking down your noses at us younger voters, maybe you should be happy that we’re learning and taking time out our schedules to be there and try to make a difference. We are the future of this party and this country. I also get a kick out of people talking about paul or nothing. Let me ask you this would you vote for Paul if he did get the republican nomination.

    • Cullen, you are right about one thing, the party does need new blood and you shouldn’t be intimidated by the process. Everyone has a first time to take part in the process. As for your question, the answer is “Anyone but Obama!” I just don’t think Dr. Paul is the strongest candidate when it comes to national defense.

      • Cullen says:

        When it comes to national defense or waging war. I really think the citizens of the U.S.A are the strongest candidate. I just what somebody that will and is willing to let the people decide. Please at least ask and keep asking and listen.

  7. Matt R says:

    What Erin said about Paul supporters is absolutely untrue, incorrect, and a complete distortion of reality. All of the Paul supporters I know have become involved with Republican Party politics in one way or another. I saw many of them at the 2010 state convention volunteering for various campaigns, helping to put on the convention itself, but the bottom line is that they stuck around and have “skin in the game”.

    What Erin might not understand is their single issue is liberty. Unlike the attitude Erin expressed, Paul supporters feel that their votes and support should be earned, not simply handed out at if a certain candidate or party was automatically entitled to it without having to earn it. If a candidate doesn’t pass muster with that single issue, if they don’t earn the support and votes of Paul supporters, they won’t be likely to support them at all.

    But to your point, Jeremy, you sound pretty upset with how it seemed that “pre-approved” candidates were more or less endorsed by the party leadership and the Establishment. You have my email address; send me a message and ask me what can be done about this, because there ARE alternatives.

    • Matt you’re comments are well taken, however, I cannot reply. You’re e-mail doesn’t appear on here as I am not an administrator.

      As I pointed out in the column, libertarians, and anyone else, were well within their rights to nominate delegates from the floor. That’s the rules.

  8. Ryan says:

    Rogers Rules, eh? That’s probably why all those “libertarians” were raising a fuss… Most credible organizations use Robert’s Rules. Rogers’ Rules were found to be prejudiced.

  9. Erin says:

    The issue with most (not all) Ron Paul supporters isn’t their beliefs per se, but rather the fact that they are infiltrating a political party that they care not to build up, dont intend to volunteer for or even support its platform. They are “one issue” Republicans and their issue is Ron Paul. They are getting themselves elected to yearlong (sometimes 2 year) posts within the party with no intent to help it after the National Convention this summer. When asked, “What about after the RNC? What will you do then?” one elected delegate & Ron Paul supporter replied, “who cares?”

    • Good point Erin! Thanks for your comments.

    • Ben says:

      Erin,

      As a life-long conservative Rochester resident, I take umbrage at your generalization. I am a life-long Republican who organized for Quist’s gubenatorial campaigns in the 90s, who was an active participant in several local state-level office elections in 30A and 30B, and who has been elected a Republican State Delegate for the better part of a decade… and I am a dedicated Ron Paul supporter. Ron Paul’s supporters, like me, are REPUBLICANS. Perhaps this is a fact lost on you? Ron Paul’s constitutional conservative supporters are indeed issue oriented… they care passionately about individual liberty, about the restoration of constitutional government with its checks & balances and federalism, about restoring a sound currency, with restoring economic liberty, and with advocating a rational, realist foreign policy of defense, not aggression abroad.

      We are members of the Republican Party because we believe in the fundamental principles the Republican Party stands for, for the restoration of these things, and to see tese principles reaffirmed and codified in our laws, courts, legislative halls… and with God’s providential help, the White House.