Weekend convention unites GOP

Republican party delegates endorsed St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman as their candidate for Governor at the Target Center’s first-ever hosting of a state political convention Friday night.
The ease with which convention attendees endorsed Coleman, added to the fact that his competitors agreed not to run against him in September’s primary, have some delegates calling the party the most unified in recent history.
Also supported by Gov. Arne Carlson, Coleman pledges to slash taxes but not to dismantle government.
Losing candidates Lieutenant Governor Joanne Benson and former legislator Allen Quist also offered their support to Coleman, who won the endorsement in surprisingly swift fashion.
Only four ballots passed through the Republican convention floor to win Coleman’s endorsement, as opposed to the ten-plus ballots DFL delegates needed to endorse Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman at their convention in early June.
Unlike Coleman, Freeman faces tough competition from the five other viable DFL candidates who all intend to run in September’s primary.
House District 59B candidate Robert Fowler, a third-year University Law School student, said the atmosphere at the Target Center contributed to the expedient endorsement process.
“It was an enjoyable experience,” Fowler said of his first convention. “I was proud to be a part of selecting such a qualified and strong group of Republican-endorsed candidates to run this November.”
Fowler also attended the Reform Party’s June 6 convention in hopes of gaining cross-endorsement. Unfortunately for Fowler, the party that endorses Jesse Ventura amended its constitution to end the practice of cross-endorsement.
“That does not mean the Reform Party voters can’t support me in November,” he said.
On the first ballot, delegates also endorsed State Representative Charlie Weaver for Attorney General, incumbent State Auditor Judith Dutcher, State Representative Kevin Knight for State Treasurer and Secretary of State candidate Mary Kiffmeyer.