Live Blog: GOP Convention

by Devin Henry

Update – 5:00: The Republican Party has endorsed Tom Emmer for governor.

Emmer told the convention delegates they will be a part of a line of conservative victories this November.

“Republicans will win in the fall,” he said. “With your help, we’ll take back the state.”

Emmer thanked Marty Seifert, calling him a “class act” after his concession speech.

Seifert said he would retire from the Legislature, but not before campaigning heavily for Emmer.

“I’ve had a wonderful time in the public service,” he said. “I want each and every one of you to campaign as hard for him as I’m going to campaign for him.”

Second Ballot – 4:45:

Emmer – 56.0 percent

Seifert – 43.8

Both candidates gained support, but Emmer is approaching the 60 percent needed to secure the nomination. It will be interesting to see what the third ballot results look like with only two candidates left in the race.

Update – 4:00: Tom Emmer stopped by the press area and chatted for a few minutes about the first ballot results.

Emmer said he was pleased with his showing, and is confident going forward. He’s been walking the crowd, talking to delegates and dispelling rumors about his running mate Annette Meeks and her support of public funding for sports facilities. Emmer made it clear he doesn’t support public financing.

He said he’s gotten positive feedback from delegates on Sarah Palin’s endorsement of him yesterday, as well as his passionate speeches.

But the endorsement of Seifert from Herwig and Haas surprised him, he said.

Politically, he said, “we’re probably right in line.”

First Ballot – 3:15:

The Convention conducted a roll call vote by county. During the first few Congressional Districts, the vote was close, but Emmer pulled away from Seifert a bit as reporting went on.

Haas, Herwig and Davis were eliminated after missing the 5 percent threshold. Hann and Herwig endorsed Seifert in their concession speeches.

The results were initially counted incorrectly. They are corrected here.

Emmer – 1062 voted. 52.6 percent.

Seifert – 859 votes. 42.5 percent.

Herwig – 36 votes. (Eliminated)

Haas – 26 votes. (Eliminated)

Davis – 6 votes. (Eliminated)

Update – 2:10: Voting has started here at the Republican Convention.

The rules are slightly different here than they were at the DFL Convention last week. In order for a candidate to win the endorsement, they must receive 60 percent of the vote. For candidates to remain on the ballot, they must get at least 5 percent on the first ballot, 10 percent on the second, and 20 percent on every ballot after that.

The candidates on the ballot include: Tom Emmer, Marty Seifert, Leslie Davis, Bill Haas and Phil Herwig.

The favorites remain Emmer and Seifert. Each was profiled in the Daily’s Campaign for the Capitol series of gubernatorial candidate profiles. You can read the articles here:

Marty Seifert

Tom Emmer

Update – 1:40: In his speech, Emmer vowed to stomp on government growth, lower taxes and reform “bloated and bureaucratic” state programs.

Tom Emmer addresses the crowd at
the GOP Convention in Minneapolis.

(Jules Ameel, Daily)

“Government has literally invaded every aspect of our life,” he said.

Brian Sullivan, who ran against for the GOP’s nomination against Tim Pawlenty in 2002, introduced Emmer as a strong conservative candidate. Sullivan urged Republicans to go on the offensive to take back political offices currently held by a liberal majority.

Sullivan also highlighted Emmer’s character.

“Tom is a legislator, but he is not a politician,” he said. “Tom’s the kind of guy you can trust with your kids.”

Emmer said, if elected, he would leave “politics as usual” behind and work for the interests of the people of Minnesota.

He explained his support for lower taxes, education reform and smaller government while recounting his experiences starting a small business and remembering his working-class roots.

Emmer said that, under his leadership, Minnesota would be sent “roaring down the road to prosperity.”

Candidates Bill Haas and Leslie Davis have also spoken, and soon the balloting will begin …

-James Nord

Update – 12:50: Introduced by Phil Krinke, the head of the Minnesota Taxpayer’s League, Marty Seifert took the stage promising lower taxes and reform to government.

Marty Seifert and running mate
Rhonda Sivarajah wave to supporters at

the GOP Convention.

(Jules Ameel, Daily)

Seifert, the former House Minority Leader, announced endorsements from Krinke, former gubernatorial candidate David Hann and a group of rural Minnesota Republicans before his speech.

He took aim at his DFL opponent Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while thanking the field of candidates who are running against her in an August primary.

“I have outmaneuvered Margaret Anderson Kelliher in countless situations: whether it be the budget, bonding bills, unallotment or ending the legislative session,” he said. “There’s one thing I know: Minnesota cannot afford Kelliher for governor.”

Seifert promised spending and tax cuts, as well as reform to welfare and reductions to the size of government.

“Our future is bright – with hard work and determination, we will prove that our Minnesota is riding into the sunrise, not the sunset,” he said.

Update – 11:50: Tim Pawlenty gave his farewell address to the convention, a good portion of which addressed federal issues.

The speech centered largely on economic policy, containing a rundown of increased government spending under President Barack Obama.

Pawlenty repeated a line he’s said many times: “We can’t spend more than we have.”

He tied his concerns over the cost of national healthcare reform to Minnesota, saying Margaret Anderson Kelliher “goes further than ObamaCare,” by supporting a statewide single-payer health care plan.

Pawlenty listed his accomplishments as governor, including taking Minnesota out of the top ten most-taxed states, stabilizing spending and reducing it in real terms through his unallotments.

He warned of regression under a DFL governor.

“All that I’ve accomplished will be washed away in six months if we don’t have a Republican governor, ” he said.

Pawlenty said afterward that he isn’t endorsing a candidate. As for whom the convention should choose: “You can’t make a wrong choice. I know that you’ll make a good choice for our party.”

Update – 10:30: Michele Bachmann addressed the rivalry between Seifert and Emmer – and their supporters – in a speech to the convention this morning.

Saying “uber-liberals” in Washington D.C. are pushing an “extreme radical agenda” that threatens to “destroy our country,” she called on the GOP to unite behind their eventual candidate.

“Our only other alternative will be the stay divided and concede defeat to the art of big government this November,” she said. “Work as hard for our eventually nominee and you’ve been working for your candidate. Our window of opportunity is a brief one. This is our moment.”

Republicans are meeting in Minneapolis today to endorse a candidate for governor.

There are officially a handful of candidates in the race, but the two main Republicans to watch today are Reps. Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer. 

The two have dominated the race, receiving a combined 90 percent of the vote in February’s gubernatorial straw polls.

Seifert made headlines last week when he made Emmer’s pair of decades-old DWI citations a campaign issue. Emmer said it was a baseless attack late in the campaign, but Seifert said many of the delegates at today’s convention might not be aware of his history. It will be interesting to see how that affects balloting today, if at all.

What might make more of a difference, however, is Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Emmer that came down yesterday. Palin, one of the most popular figures in conservative circles through the country, called Emmer a “patriotic, fiscally conservative hockey dad,” in a note posted on Facebook. It’s the highest-profile endorsement of the campaign, for either party, and it’s one that could resonate with conservative delegates today.

The DFLers endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher at their convention last week, but she still faces an August primary challenge. But both Seifert and Emmer have said they will drop from the race and abide by the nomination, avoiding a four-month Republican primary race.

Today’s process is a bit different from last week – to be eligible for nomination, a candidate must receive petitions signed by at least 2 percent of the delegation. Each nominated candidate will have 20 minutes to present to the convention before balloting begins.

It took 17 hours and 12 ballots to endorse Tim Pawlenty eight years ago. It took eight hours and six ballots for the DFL to endorse Kelliher from a full field of candidates last weekend. Observers say today’s balloting process won’t last anywhere near as long.

Follow along here all day.