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MN GOP gets off to a crawling start, upending schedule for endorsing governor candidate

Long registration lines, debates over balloting process and seating of delegates slows convention.

Minnesota State Republican Convention
The Minnesota GOP state convention was underway Friday morning, May 13, 2022, at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The Minnesota GOP state convention was set to begin Friday morning, but a bunch of snafus have snarled the beginning of the two-day convention to endorse candidates from governor to attorney general, and secretary of state to auditor.

Long, sweltering registration lines, disagreement over balloting processes and debate over the seating of affiliates has slowed the convention to a crawl that was already operating under a tight timeline.

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Well into what was supposed to be the start of the convention, there were still long lines of delegates waiting to get into the convention venue.

When the convention finally did get started, GOP state chairman David Hann sought to assure the more than 2,000 GOP delegates that the electronic voting planned for the convention was safe and secure.

Some delegates are suspicious of the electronic voting and would prefer paper ballots. Former President Donald Trump has made electronic voting radioactive in the minds of many GOP activists, basically claiming that the election was stolen from him, and voting machines were fraudulently manipulated.

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But convention officials say that the use of paper ballots would prolong the convention and threaten its ability to endorse candidates for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and auditor.

Time was also consumed on debating the seating of affiliate delegates.

These affiliates included groups representing Young Republicans, Asian Americans and veterans. A GOP official said the central committee wasn’t able to certify these groups the day before the convention. Convention delegates voted by voice vote to approve seating affiliates, but the process has eaten up precious time in the two-day convention

Minnesota State Republican Convention
Thousands attend the Minnesota State Republican Convention Friday, May 13, 2022, at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

DFL Chairman Ken Martin characterized the early hours of the GOP convention as chaos, and a sign that the GOP is unfit to run the state.

“It is clear that the Minnesota Republican Party could not organize their way out of a wet paper bag even if they had a year and a map. If the Minnesota Republican Party is too incompetent to organize a simple convention, why should voters trust them to govern our state?" Martin said.

But a GOP official described the development as typical for a convention.

State Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, said unplanned events were not unusual for conventions where the voices of the delegates were being listened to and responded to.

Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
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