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GOP convention in HD 30A deadlocks over Kiffmeyer successor

Paul Demko//March 26, 2012

GOP convention in HD 30A deadlocks over Kiffmeyer successor

Paul Demko//March 26, 2012

Nick Zerwas

Republican activists in House District 30A cast six ballots on Saturday seeking to endorse a candidate. But the convention adjourned with neither Chris Kumpula or Nick Zerwas reaching the 60 percent threshold required for endorsement.

“It was pretty much a locked-up stalemate,” says Zerwas, a member of the Elk River City Council. “There was just basically no movement.”

According to Kumpula, he led on the final ballot by a 60-48 vote margin. The candidates are seeking to replace Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, who is running for Senate, in a district that includes Big Lake and Elk River and tilts heavily Republican.

It’s uncertain whether a second endorsing convention will be called. Kumpula says that the convention was closed with the explicit understanding that another gathering will be held to choose a candidate. “If the BPOU tries to not call another convention, that would be out of line,” he says.

But Ron Touchette, the newly elected GOP chair in HD 30A, disputes that there is any obligation to hold a second endorsing convention. He says the executive board will gather on Wednesday to discuss how to proceed. “We can hold a second endorsing convention. It could go to the primary. We’ll have to see what the executive committee thinks is the best course,” Touchette says.

Chad Westberg, a member of the Elk River Planning Commission, was also in the race, but failed to garner enough votes to remain viable.

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