Kurt Bills, the Econ Teacher from Rosemount, pulled out a stunner on Friday to win the GOP endorsement to challenge Amy Klobuchar-DFL for her US Senate seat this November. Riding an independent minded, youthful libertarian surge, Bills more than doubled the ballots of his top rivals Dan Severson and Pete Hegseth, winning the nomination in the second ballot.
Republican delegates gathered at St. Cloud’s River’s Edge Convention Center Friday to vote and conduct other GOP business. Presidential Candidate Ron Paul spoke to the convention and received a warm reception. Bills may owe much of his success to Paul’s endorsement as well as that of Twin Cities Talk show personality and outspoken libertarian Jason Lewis.
In his speech to the hall following the nomination, Bills said, “We sent a lawyer, a community organizer and a comedian to Washington, D.C., and we get an economy that looks like it does today. Finally, we’re going to send an econ teacher and see what happens.”
It will be interesting to see whether Bills can capitalize on Paul’s positives on the economy and national debt while distancing him from the presidential candidate’s negatives, i.e. the 9/11 Truthers and Birthers, and weak national defense ideology.
Bills has an uphill battle to beat Senate incumbent Amy Klobuchar, who is fairly popular in the state and has a large war chest to draw from. The Minnesota GOP suffered a significant and painful loss last election and is millions of dollars in debt. The party was rocked with scandal after news of an affair led to the resignation of the Majority Leader Amy Koch. Bills will have to hit the ground running and build his own war chest and a grass roots support if he expects to beat Klobuchar. Observers note that he already has his monogrammed campaign bus ready to go.