Delegates to the MN-GOP First District endorsing convention know where the money is buried … American Crossroads, American Action Network, Congressional Leadership Fund, etc. – the SuperPAC money that Karl Rove and Norm Coleman will make available to attack incumbent Tim Walz.
Thus, when a candidate makes a pledge to self-finance any shortfall to pay for the campaign, these delegates listened and yawned. Allen Quist promised to cover every dollar of the $1 million dollars that was not covered during fundraising from his personal finances and he accused Mike Parry of not being willing to donate $1 to his own campaign.
From Mark Fischenich’s Mankato Free Press account of the epic Allen Quist – Mike Parry über-Conservative showdown :
“It takes money to beat Walz,” said Quist, estimating $1 million will be necessary.
Neither Republican has shown fund-raising strength to date, trailing Walz by about $700,000. Quist then made a dramatic promise to close that gap, pledging to do what department store heir Mark Dayton did in some of his campaigns — self-finance.
“My wife and I have a net worth the same as his,” the retired farmer said of Dayton. “… We will put in up to a million (dollars).”
The response from the delegates was somewhat muted, although they applauded when he said he’d prefer to pass on his wealth to his children and grandchildren but was willing to spend it now if it ensured them another legacy.
“I’d much rather leave them a country where they are free,” Quist said.
The result of the emotional speeches? Not a single vote changed on the ensuing sixth ballot. Parry: 142. Quist: 140.
Quist’s pledge was after two-and-a-half hours of balloting … which continued until after 1AM on Sunday … and in the end, neither candidate could muster the required 60% … the last ballot, No. 23 : Quist 137, Parry 126, blank 19. No endorsement now … instead a plan to reconvene in a couple of weeks and try again with the final date no later than May 10th.
What is clear in this intramural scrimmage of über-Conservatives is the desire to retain the Delegate Endorsement process …
A delegate made a motion to vote for “no endorsement,” meaning the question of Walz’s Republican opponent would be answered in the Aug. 14 primary election by the general population.
“Let the voters decide,” he said.
An Olmsted County delegate asked his fellow Republican activists to be realistic. Three hours of effort and five ballots and heartfelt speeches had moved fewer than 10 delegates from their position on the first ballot. To get an endorsement, either Quist or Parry needed to get three times that many to switch sides.
“I don’t see the purpose of being here until midnight and then deciding there’s going to be no endorsement,” he said.
The bulk of the delegates were far from ready to give up, decisively voting down the motion.
IMO, this should be the lesson. The endorsing convention serves a purpose – to vet the candidates and whittle the field to as one Waseca County delegate said “I don’t look at this as a no-endorsement. I look at it as a co-endorsement. We love both these candidates equally.”
Thus, thus the question, should the decision be made by 282 convention delegates or by all the primary voters in August ?
Since the taxpayers are paying for the primary election, shouldn’t they have a choice ?
But not when the MN-GOP is requiring candidates to sign a pledge indicating that they won’t run in a primary against an endorsed candidate — or face a $2,500 fine.
Heck, if Allen Quist is willing to put up a million bucks to battle Tim Walz, put up $2,500 and give the broad public a chance to weigh in.