Republican delegates elected political consultant Pat Shortridge as the next party chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. Shortridge won on the first ballot, receiving 66 percent of the vote. He defeated Second Congressional District Chair Terry McCall and businessman Todd McIntyre.
Shortridge will have some heavy lifting to do. He’ll be expected to eliminate a party debt that could be as high as $2 million at a time when lower level contributions are down. Republicans are also heading into the 2012 election without a top tier U.S. Senate candidate to challenge DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
During his speech to delegates, Shortridge said he’s optimistic the party will reverse its recent shortcomings.
“We have some management and structural and organizational issues that we can fix and fix them we will,” Shortridge said. “Starting this afternoon and for the next ten months and the next ten years so we grow this party to be the long-term governing majority in Minnesota.”
Shortridge has not specifically addressed how he would fix the party’s debt. He said, however, that he would focus on identifying key Republican voters, improve the party’s message and improve party research for candidates.
“We have to get back to the blocking and tackling that make us so successful and lets our guys win at the polls,” Shortridge said.
Shortridge also said his top priorities are protecting Republican control of the Minnesota Legislature and protecting the four Republican incumbents in the U.S. House.