Delegates at today’s Republican Party State Central Committee approved a 2-year party ban on 18 high profile Republicans who supported Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. The list includes former GOP governors Al Quie and Arne Carlson and former US Senator Dave Durenberger.
On a 59 to 55 vote, the motion would forbid them from being Republican delegates or attending the Republican National Convention in 2012. Supporters of the motion say it would hold people accountable for calling themselves Republicans yet supporting a rival candidate.
Delegate Jim Newberger of Becker says Democrat Mark Dayton may not be leading the recount if the endorsements for Horner didn’t occur.
“These people, their money and their influence, possibly cost us 8,000 votes,” Newberger said. “These are some big names. But it’s time for the Republican Party to grow a spine. Either you’re a Republican or you’re not.”
But other delegates said the motion would make the party look vindictive. Jen De Journett of Maple Grove, says the proposal would make the party look bad.
“Even if we pass this motion, we can’t exactly take away a former governor’s title,” she said. “We can’t vote people out who may or may not live in this state and we’re going to look like a bunch of goofballs.”
Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton says the motion will be difficult to enforce but he said he understands the frustration of Republicans who think Horner could have cost Emmer the election. Sutton, who caught fire during the campaign for calling Republicans backing Horner as “Quislings,” said he doesn’t think the motion will hurt the party’s image.
“I get frustrated because a lot of people on that list only come out and say they’re Republicans when the want to stick it to Republicans,” Sutton said. “The rest of the time they say they’re an independent or a Democrat and support nothing but Democrats.
Dayton led Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes before the recount started. The State Canvassing Board is scheduled to review disputed ballots next week but it appears Dayton will continue to hold a lead regardless of the outcome of the challenged ballots.
Here’s the full list:
Here’s the audio of the debate:
Republican Tom Emmer also addressed the convention. You can listen to his speech here: