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Zaffke gets nod over Kiscaden

By Joshua Lynch

jlynch@postbulletin.com

Republican delegates Thursday chose to endorse Lynn Zaffke over incumbent Sen. Sheila Kiscaden for the recently redrawn District 30 Senate seat.

Zaffke -- a home builder from Stewartville who is co-chairman of the Olmsted County Republican Party -- won the endorsement after two rounds of balloting. Initially, neither Kiscaden nor Zaffke gathered enough votes for endorsement.

Party rules require at least 60 percent support of delegate votes before endorsement. In the first round of balloting, Zaffke was one vote shy of the 72 he needed. After the second round, Zaffke had 74 votes.

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Kiscaden, who has represented the city of Rochester for 10 years, said the lack of the endorsement won't stop her campaign for the Senate seat.

"The reality is that all candidates want the endorsement of their party," she said. "But I think the general electorate should decide."

The new Senate District 30 includes the southern half of Rochester and stretches into eastern Olmsted County and southern Wabasha County. The new district includes Stewartville, Dover, Eyota, Chatfield, Plainview and Elgin.

Zaffke said he was not offended that Kiscaden planned to continue campaigning, a move that will force a primary election this fall. Zaffke said he welcomed the chance to debate topics like gun control, the Profile of Learning and abortion.

"It's her choice to make," he said. "She's got a voting record. She's going to have to defend that."

Kiscaden was not the only Republican political candidate who planned to move on Thursday without endorsement.

Mark Caspersen of Rochester said he would challenge the newly endorsed Carla Nelson of Rochester. Both candidates are vying to replace the House 30A seat left vacant by the retiring Rep. Dave Bishop of Rochester.

Nelson -- who labeled herself "a true Republican" -- said she plans to focus on transportation, education and budget issues. She said the party endorsement "means everything" to her campaign.

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Meanwhile, Rep. Bill Kuisle of Rochester was endorsed by a voice vote. He was unopposed in his re-election bid for the House 30B seat.

"It's a fun job," he said. "I don't know of anything else that can invigorate someone like this."

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