Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson toppled 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer on the first ballot in Saturday’s contest for Republican National Committeeman.
He won one of two Minnesota open committee seats that were decided by delegates to the Republican State Central Committee meeting at the Ramada Mall of America. Johnson, a former state representative from Plymouth, replaces outgoing committeeman Brian Sullivan. Former State Auditor Pat Anderson was elected to succeed outgoing committeewoman Evie Axdahl.
In losing to Johnson, Emmer suffered his second political defeat in as many years. Emmer lost a close election last year to DFLer Mark Dayton in last year’s race for governor. After winning his party’s gubernatorial endorsement last year, Emmer was seen as the one to beat in the race for RNC. But last year’s loss in the midst of the 2010 Republican wave election, plus more recent controversies such as his lobbying activities for Minnesota Radiation Oncologist Physicians, disenchanted the delegates. While Emmer served in the state House, he voted against the construction moratorium that the radiation oncologists advocate for.
“I look forward to working with Jeff and the rest of our team in the coming months to maintain control of the Minnesota Legislature, gain another Congressional seat, defeat Amy Klobuchar, and turn Minnesota red in the presidential race,” said Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton.
So far, Republicans haven’t fielded a candidate to run against DFL incumbent U.S. Sen. Klobuchar, who is up for re-election in 2012. Republican activist Bill Guidera has been mentioned as a possible candidate.
Anderson won on the second ballot over three other challengers to replace Axdahl.