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Throwdown in Minneapolis: Emmer prevails in 2 ballots

Staff//April 30, 2010

Throwdown in Minneapolis: Emmer prevails in 2 ballots

Staff//April 30, 2010

Welcome to our live blog of the 2010 Minnesota state Republican convention. Stick with us today as we cover all the hoopla and fanfare and actual business of the GOP.

(Staff key: PBG, Peter Bartz-Gallagher; PD, Paul Demko; SP, Steve Perry; CS, Charley Shaw; BS, Betsy Sundquist.)

5:18: Emmer just finished addressing the media after accepting the endorsement. Emmer said he hasn’t decided if he will take public campaign subsidies and abide by spending limits. He said there’s a chance he might not take the subsidies. (CS)

4:55: Emmer and Seifert take the podium together, clasped hands raised above their heads. (BS)

4:54: Delegates just unanimously endorsed Emmer for governor by voice vote, and Annette Meeks also earned unanimous nomination for lieutenant governor. (BS)

4:52: Would anyone have predicted yesterday at this time that the auditor endorsement battle would go more ballots than the one for governor? (BS)

4:50: Seifert: “Get your Seifert stickers off and put your Emmer stickers on.” (BS)

4:48: And Seifert just conceded after the second ballot. (BS)

4:43: Second-ballot results: Emmer 1,118 votes, 56 percent, and Seifert 876 votes, 43.8 percent. Total needed for endorsement: 1,199 votes. (BS)

4:35: The parlor game at the GOP state convention in the last hour has been “Guess the Second Ballot Results.” Some are wondering if the Seifert campaign “sandbagged” delegates in the Emmer camp who might presumably shift their allegiance to Seifert on subsequent ballots. But the size of Emmer’s lead after the first ballot has cast doubt on whether that strategy, if executed, will be enough to turn the tide. Emmer led on the first ballot with 1,062 votes to Seifert’s 859 votes. “[Seifert campaign consultant] Gregg Peppin always has some votes stashed, but 1,062 — that’s a lot of coordination,” said one GOP insider. (CS)

4:13: Word of the day: “emmergy,” as in the energy that infused Emmer supporters after they prevailed in the first ballot. (BS)

4:06: And once again, as with the first ballot, the holdup is with the Second Congressional District, which was just reminded that it needs to turn in its ballot box. (BS)

3:51: Emmer is hustled over to the MPR area of the media section and outfitted with headphones for an interview. “Should I smile?” he asks. (At this point, with 52.6 percent of the delegates in his pocket, they’d have a hard time getting him not to smile.) (BS)

3:44: … and they’re followed by the Emmerites, marching the same path and chanting. (BS)

3:42: A very loud Seifert demonstration has begun — supporters are parading around the edges of the delegate section, waving signs and chanting. (BS)

3:38: A slight correction on the official first-ballot results: 1,062 votes for Emmer, for 52.6 percent, and 859 votes for Seifert, for 42.5 percent. (BS)

3:37: There will be no roll call on the second ballot. (BS)

3:35: Emmer supporters are carrying big baskets of Rice Krispie treats around the auditorium and handing them out as a midafternoon pick-me-up. (CS)

3:30: Both sides will hunker down and try to hold their numbers on the second ballot, according to a seasoned GOP campaign vet (and Seifert backer).  Whether Seifert can hold his numbers and add slightly to them is “pivotal,” the source says. (SP)

3:24: Adam Duininck, who ran Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s floor effort last weekend at the DFL convention in Duluth, posted this on Facebook a few minutes ago: “GOP delegates appear to be torn. Seifert and Emmer should both go to the primary.” (BS)

3:21: The question now: If Emmer picks up another 2 to 4 percent on the second ballot, does Seifert concede, or does he dig in and try to block an endorsement? (SP)

3:09: Leslie Davis vows to “live to fight another day” but doesn’t endorse anyone. (BS)

3:07: Bill Haas drops out, throws his support to Marty Seifert. (SP)

3:05: The room is remarkably quiet as it preps for the second ballot and absorbs the fact that Emmer is on the threshold of winning endorsement. (SP)

3:03: Official first ballot results, slightly modified: 1076 for Emmer, 865 for Seifert. On this ballot, 1,196 were needed for endorsement, meaning Emmer is 120 votes shy of clinching the endorsement. (SP)

3:01: After the first ballot, votes for other candidates or no endorsement constitute 3.9 percent of the votes. (BS)

2:59: Unofficial first-ballot results: Emmer 1,067 votes for 52.8 percent and Seifert 874 votes for 43.3 percent. (BS)

2:56: With one more CD to report, the tally stands at 1,000 for Emmer, 717 for Seifert. (BS)

2:51: Tom Emmer has taken a commanding lead on the first ballot, and they’re almost done reporting. (BS)

2:45: Fourth Congressional District results: 98 for Emmer, 65 for Seifert. Grand total so far: Emmer 537, Seifert 410. (BS)

2:40: The results from the Second Congressional District push Emmer ahead: Emmer gets 196 from the 2nd and Seifert gets 101, which makes the tally so far 439 for Emmer and 345 for Seifert. (BS)

2:31: … which makes the tally so far 244 for Seifert, 243 for Emmer. (BS)

2:29: Third Congressional District results: 166 for Emmer, 83 for Seifert. (BS)

2:26: In the interest of time, the Third Congressional District will report next. (BS)

2:24: Results from First Congressional District roll call: 161 for Seifert, 77 for Emmer. (BS)

2:22: And the roll call is underway. It’s going slowly but steadily. (BS)

2:18: Paul Kohls announces that the roll call of each BPOU on the floor will begin momentarily. (PD)

2:17: Lots of milling around the floor as ballots are completed and tabulated. (PD)

2:00: After more parliamentary disputes over roll-call voting, the voting slips for ballot one are being distributed. (SP)

1:53: David Osmek is explaining how to cast ballots, and reminds delegates not to “editorialize” when reporting numbers. (BS)

1:43: The BPOUs requesting the roll call: House Districts 6B and 64A and Kanabec, Nobles, Isanti, Redwood, Pipestone, Lyon, Watonwan, Becker, Lincoln, Koochiching and Rock counties. (BS)

1:40: Jeff Johnson just announced that 13 BPOUs have requested that the balloting be done by roll call, a reflection of the Seifert campaign’s strategic effort to demonstrate on the floor that the Emmer campaign lacks support in many parts of greater Minnesota. (SP)

1:39: Davis has wrapped up his speech; balloting will begin momentarily. (BS)

1:33: Davis is criticizing Seifert and Emmer. “I’m ready for your endorsement,” he says. “It’s going to take a great governor to get us out of the mess we’re in.” (BS)

1:23: So far, the floor attacks that the Emmer campaign was bracing for from Team Seifert have not emerged. Floor handouts have been tame stuff; a source close to the Emmer campaign says, “It’s been a whisper campaign.” But the whispers cited are pretty wan stuff: Emmer’s not really pro-life, Sarah Palin didn’t really endorse him. (SP)

1:21: On the way back into the main hall from the lobby, I met such a tide of exiting delegates that I wondered if a fire had broken out inside. No: Leslie Davis. (SP)

1:20: Davis: “You don’t know me, and many of you fear my ethics, principles and good ideas.” (BS)

1:19: Davis promises that if delegates endorse someone besides him, it will cause “unparalleled misery.” (BS)

1:17: Haas has wrapped up his speech and left the stage. It’s Leslie Davis time! (BS)

1:14: Haas says eliminating required electives would get students out of school in “two or three years” and get them into the work force. He says it’s not necessary for them to watch “Caddyshack” or play basketball in school. (BS)

1:13: Haas: Every student has potential; we just have to find it. (BS)

1:11: A Margaret Anderson Kelliher supporter just tweeted this: “Can this guy wrap up already? Some of us want to hear Leslie Davis!” (BS)

1:03: Haas, a former state rep and ex-mayor of Champlin, hypes his state budget experience and says he has more of it than all the other candidates combined. (BS)

1:02: Haas brings up the $6.8 billion deficit and adds, “We are going in the wrong direction.” (BS)

12:58: Haas, alone on the stage, praises his wife for “standing by my side.” (BS)

12:57: Bill Haas has the unenviable task of following the Emmer nomination and demonstration. (BS)

12:54: The gloves are off: Seifert’s campaign just distributed a flyer headlined “Hero is better than best friend,” pointing out that Seifert (and Pawlenty) were named “heroes of the taxpayer” in 2009 by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. Further down on the page: “In 2009, Representative Emmer was one of six House Republicans named “best friend of the taxpayer.” (BS)

12:53: Emmer: “Government of the people and by the people should, goldarn it, start listening to the people.” (BS)

12:52: Literal fireworks at the back of the stage when Emmer finished his fiery speech. No wonder supporters weren’t standing back there. (BS)

12:51: Emmer: “With your help, I will be the governor of ‘yes.'” (BS)

12:49: Emmer and Seifert agree on one thing: Republicans must win in November. (BS)

12:48: Emmer: “My experience is real-life experience. (BS)

12:46: Emmer points out that Meeks has “literally written the book on how to redesign government.” (BS)

12:45: Emmer’s family and his running mate, Annette Meeks, are the only supporters on stage with him; the rest are directly in front of the stage, cheering and applauding on cue. (BS)

12:44: An oversized Emmer hockey jersey is displayed behind Emmer on the stage, covered with the signatures of supporters. (BS)

12:42: Emmer takes the podium and introduces “the best friend I have in the world” — his wife, Jacquie.  He points out his children arrayed behind him: “This is what I fight for every day.” (BS)

12:41: Sullivan: “All those who want to second Tom’s nomination, signify by standing and saying ‘aye.'” The resulting “aye” rocks the convention center. (BS)

12:40: Sullivan: “Tom is a legislator, but Tom is not a politician.” (BS)

12:38: Emmer is being nominated from the podium by Republican National Committeeman Brian Sullivan, who lost a bruising gubernatorial endorsement battle in 2002 to Tim Pawlenty. (BS)

12:36: Emmer’s broken out a new song in the video: “Life is a Highway.” Evidently we are meant to understand that he wants to ride it all night long. (BS)

12:34: Pre-speech Emmer floor demo plays very large; his supporters are parading in front of the stage. (SP)

12:33: Tom Emmer’s up next; he’s posing for photos behind the media section. (BS)

12:32: Streamers and confetti before a single endorsement vote is cast? That could be a first. (CS)

12:30: And it’s confetti time. Seifert’s supporters are jumping on the stage and cheering, and they’ve renewed their chant of “Mar-ty! Mar-ty!” (BS)

12:29: Seifert: “Sending the liberal Democrats into the state treasury is like sending Bill Clinton into a Florida spring break beach party — there are just too many opportunities for the wrong thing to happen.” (BS)

12:26: Seifert says he’s never accepted a contribution from any lobbyist, “and I never will”: “I don’t need a law to tell me not to take money from lobbyists; I refuse it because it’s the right thing to do.” (BS)

12:25: Seifert: “Fellow Republicans, it is not just about winning here today; it’s about winning in November.” (BS)

12:23: Seifert calls himself the candidate who lives farthest from the Capitol, and declares himself proud of that fact. (BS)

12:22: Seifert thanks the other GOP gubernatorial candidates, then thanks DFLers Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza for running expensive primary campaigns. (BS)

12:20: TCF Financial CEO Bill Cooper announces his support for Seifert, and introduces him from the podium — leading to by far the loudest cheer of the convention (and to the tune of “Small Town” by John Mellencamp). (BS)

12:19: “I am running for governor to be your servant, not your boss,” Seifert says in his video.

12:16: Delegates are watching a video in which Seifert, who calls himself “not a fancy person,” is telling folks why he wants to be gov. (BS)

12:14: Dan Williams, who unsuccessfully challenged DFL Sen. John Marty in 2006, is seconding Seifert’s nomination. (BS)

12:11: Krinkie is nominating Seifert from the podium. (BS)

12:09: Phil Krinkie, self-described as “Minnesota’s leading fiscal conservative,” is endorsing Seifert. (BS)

12:08: Seifert supporters, chanting “Mar-ty! Mar-ty!” are approaching the stage. There are so many of them that they don’t fit and are bleeding off the side. (BS)

12:06: Herwig gets his first heartfelt cheer when he says he isn’t for welfare reform; he’s for dismantling the welfare state. (BS)

12:05: Herwig: “I don’t play defense. I only play offense. (BS)

12:02: Herwig is criticizing Tom Emmer’s choice of Annette Meeks as his lieutenant governor candidate. (BS)

11:57: So much for those “first ballot by noon” predictions. (PBG)

11:52: Herwig: “These bleachers are empty. If they loved us, they would be filled.” (BS)

11:47: And we’re off. Phil Herwig has just been summoned to the podium. (BS)

11:46: Four gubernatorial candidates signed a pledge to abide by the endorsement. The two who didn’t: Leslie Davis and Bob Carney Jr. (BS)

11:35: Just talked with GOP Rep. Mark Buesgens, who’s running the Emmer floor effort. (“I’m really just the eye candy,” he winked of his role.) He said his side is prepared for attack rhetoric throughout today’s balloting, and offered a few preemptive shots of his own.

“The first delegate I talked to this morning said to me, ‘Oh, I want to vote for Tom, but I’m hearing he’s too far out, he’s radical, he’s not electable.’ Well, for goodness sake, it’s not half an hour later I talk to a delegate who’s seen a hit piece that says Tom is too mainstream, too liberal.

“So I guess we’re facing a bipolar campaign from our opponent. And that is indicative of the fact that our opponent is throwing everything at the wall and hoping something will stick.” (SP)

11:31: Always good for a loud “boo” in this crowd: the mere mention of Sen. Al Franken’s name, as Pawlenty just did. (BS)

11:22: Pawlenty suggests that the same principle of people behaving differently around an open bar than they do around a cash bar needs to be applied to government. (BS)

11:20: Pawlenty apologizes to his 91-year-old mother-in-law for revealing her age. (BS)

11:14: Norm Coleman is standing unobtrusively in the shadows near the media section. (BS)

11:13: Marty Seifert’s supporters are clustering to the left of the stage. Seifert himself is still pressing the flesh among the delegates. (BS)

11:10: Relating a story about how Mary encouraged him to run for governor, Pawlenty compares himself to Rocky Balboa and Mary to Adrian (but stops short of saying, “Yo, Adrian!”) (BS)

11:09: Gov. Tim Pawlenty takes the stage and starts out paying tribute to “the fabulous first lady of Minnesota,” Mary Pawlenty, who is onstage with him. (BS)

11:05: Seen and overheard on a spin around the convention floor:

  • A young Emmer supporter in a campaign hockey jersey — which are much in evidence today — says the following to get a group of pals he’s photographing to smile: “Marty’s just a mud-slinging violator of Reagan’s 11th commandment!” Cheese!
  • Team Seifert is distributing a new variation on its basic blue campaign button. This one has a legend inscribed across the top: “Let’s WIN in November.” Seifert will be hitting the theme of electability hard today.
  • Out in the lobby, the Log Cabin Republicans table adjoins the Michele Bachmann table — which, perhaps mercifully for the equanimity of all, was unstaffed when we passed by.
  • Emmer LG candidate Annette Meeks was spotted at the tail end of a long line snaking out of the women’s restroom in the lobby. (SP)

11:00: Joel Demos, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, is at the podium, and he has identified himself as “the one.” (BS)

10:46: Chip Cravaack, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar in the Eighth Congressional District, is now at the podium. “Congressman Oberstar lives in Potomac, Maryland,” he says. “You can’t really blame him. He wants to live closer to the people he represents.” (PD)

10:39: Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem is giving a fiery speech. “For the first time in 38 years, Republicans are going to control the Minnesota Senate,” he says, pounding the podium. “We’re gonna carry the gavels. We’re gonna carry the gavels. We’re gonna set the agenda.” (PD)

10:30: Next up: state Rep. Randy Demmer, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the First Congressional District. (PD)

10:28: Bachmann exits stage to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” — and another standing ovation. (PD)

10:25: Bachmann: “My message here is very simple: Let us all now come together under the banner of constitutional conservatism. That is what the Republican party stands for, isn’t it?” (PD)

10:22: Bachmann warns of “extreme radical agenda” in Washington. (PD)

10:18: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is on stage. She’s greeted by a standing ovation from delegates (of course). (PD)

10:16. State Rep. Paul Kohls is trying to fire up the crowd: “We had a a great night last night. You’re maybe all a little tired. You’re a little flat.” (SP)

10:14: Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek is addressing the convention. He calls on Republicans to reach out to immigrants: “We cannot afford to marginalize even one Minnesota voter.” (PD)

10:09: Here’s the lineup for gubernatorial candidates to address the convention: Phil Herwig, Marty Seifert, Tom Emmer, Bill Haas and Leslie Davis.(PD)

9:50: GOP chair Tony Sutton is giving out volunteer of the year awards for each congressional district. (PD)

9:30: Day two of the GOP convention is underway. U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen just addressed the delegates. (PD)

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