From MPR’s Mark Zdechlik in Mankato:
Republican party delegates in southern Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District Saturday endorsed State Rep. Randy Demmer to run against two-tier DFL Rep. Tim Walz.
The endorsement came late Saturday afternoon in Mankato where 1st District Republicans held their convention at Minnesota State University.
Demmer’s endorsement came after eight ballots. The endorsement ended up being a battle between Demmer and former state Rep. Allen Quist and ended with Quist’s withdrawal.
Also vying for the endorsement of the roughly 250 delegates were Jim Hagedorn and Jim Engstrand.
Randy Demmer, who’s in his forth legislative term, argues he’s a perfect fit for the first district because of his background as a farmer, a small business owner and a school board member.
Demmer accused Walz of being in lock step with national Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said he’s totally committed to defeating Walz.
“We know that Tim Walz is working with Nancy Pelosi, he’s right there with her doing everything that she beckons him to do. That is not representation for the 1st District of Minnesota,” Demmer said.
Demmer promised delegates he would run an “issues-based” campaign.
A political analyst in the 1st District says toppling Walz will not be easy, even if the tide in 2010 ends up favoring Republicans.
In 2008 Walz won with more than 60 percent of the vote. Walz has already raised more than $ 1 million for his 2010 campaign.
“After 6 months of negative campaigning, we are very interested in finally hearing state Rep. Demmer’s ideas to solve the immense challenges we face,” said Walz’s campaign manager Richard Carlbom.
“We are going to continue running our campaign on Tim’s record of effective service for southern Minnesota. Tim has delivered for our businesses on main street while holding Wall Street accountable, delivered for our veterans by working to ensure they receive the benefits they have earned, delivered for middle class families with the largest tax cut in history and delivered for students by making sure college is more affordable. Folks in southern Minnesota know Tim works for them.”