Kelly Fenton won a five-candidate contest on Saturday to become the state Republican Party’s new deputy chair.
Following the resignation of chair Tony Sutton less than 24 hours earlier, Fenton will serve as the party’s top official until an election for chair is held. The contest for Sutton’s seat must occur within 30 days.
Fenton won on the second ballot, receiving 173 votes, or 54 percent of all ballots cast. Former state Rep. Pete Nelson finished a distant second, collecting 93 votes on the second ballot. The rest of the field: Bill Jungbauer (23 votes), Scott Anderson (17 votes) and Corey Sax (14 votes).
In addressing the delegates, Fenton promised to “get out of debt, raise money and win in 2012.” The state party has been mired in debt for months and currently has more than $500,000 in unpaid bills. Delegates are slated to approve the 2012 budget at Saturday’s state central committee gathering.
Fenton replaces Michael Brodkorb, who resigned to work on state Sen. Mike Parry‘s CD 1 congressional campaign. The new deputy chair indicated that she will not be a candidate in the election for chair.