Republicans in the newly redistricted Senate District 50 took their official first steps on Saturday, March 19. In a reflection of the resurgence of conservative fervor, over 170 delegates and alternates attended the convention, one of the largest turnouts in recent memory.
The assembly opened shortly after 10 AM in the large hall at Bethany Church in Bloomington. Over the next six hours, Republicans from precincts in much of Edina and west central Bloomington dealt with a number of important operational topics. After setting the convention rules, the delegates and seated alternates approved the bylaws that will govern operations for the next ten years.
Republicans went on to elected Senate District 50 officers, as well as delegates and alternates to the higher-level conventions scheduled for April and May. The convention also heard from 15 candidates or their surrogates.
The new officers are:
• Co-Chairs Pam Tucholke and Winnie Martin
• Treasurer Louis Tiggas
• Secretary George Rerat
• Communications Chair Randy Sutter
• Vice Chairs Michael Barg, Craig Black, Louis Dennard, Kathy Kranz, Taylor Mackenzie, Owen Michaelson, Joel Quinnell, Liz Ross, Julia Tate, and Michele Versluis
The list of Delegates and Alternates elected at the convention is posted under the 2022 Conventions tab on the senate district website. (Note that over the next month, the website will be converting from www.SD49GOP.com to www.SD50GOP.com).
Despite the fact that three dozen other districts were holding conventions across the state at the same time, 15 state-wide and Congressional candidates appeared or had strong supporters speak on their behalf at the Senate District 50 Convention.
Five governor candidates addressed the convention in person, including Michelle Benson, Paul Gazelka, Kendall Qualls, Rich Stanek, and Dr. Neil Shah Also represented were governor candidates Dr. Scott Jenson and Mike Murphy. Attorney General candidates Jim Schultz appeared in person, while Doug Wardlow was represented. Running for MN Secretary of State, Kelly Jahner-Byrne spoke to the convention, while Al Muerhoff represented Kim Crockett. All three candidates for the 3rd Congressional seat, Mark Blaxill, Adam Schwarze, and Tom Weiler addressed the convention, while Cicely Davis, candidate for Congress in the 5th Congressional District was represented.
The convention put endorsement of candidates for MN Senate in Senate District 50 and of candidates in MN House Districts 50A and 50B on hold as the candidate search process continues. Individuals interested in running for the open MN senate seat or for either of the two house seats are asked to call the chair of the Candidate Search Committee Barb Sutter at (952) 835-8917.
The interest in delegate and alternate positions to the upcoming higher-level conventions was particularly strong. Senate District 50 was allotted only 23 delegate and 46 alternate slots to the 3rd Congressional District and State Conventions, and only three (3) delegate and six (6) alternate slots to the 5th Congressional District and State Conventions.
SD50 Convention planners had empowered the precinct chairs elected at the February 1 caucuses to nominate the higher-level conventions’ delegates and some of the alternates. The remaining alternates were nominated from the floor. Many of those nominated were new to the local party organization. This process (delegate nomination by precinct chairs) was the subject of a proposed revision of the convention rules and an in-depth discussion of pros/cons of having all nominated from the floor. However, following the discussion, a majority of the attendees voted to retain this process for the SD50 Convention and in the new Senate District by-laws.
The new party officers clearly understood that they will need to fully engage all of the new activists if the enthusiasm and passion expressed at the convention is to be sustained.
The redistricting process is continuing as cities like Bloomington and Edina reset precinct boundaries. The new precinct maps should be confirmed by the end of March. When the dust settles, it will be necessary to identify who the precinct officers will be in the new precincts. Volunteers will be needed to fill precinct officer vacancies.
More volunteers will be welcome to fill roles such as communications, database management, volunteer organizing, event planning, fundraising, and outreach. Ideas for new initiatives and improved processes are also welcome. Please contact one of the new senate district officers or call the senate district at (952) 856-3028 and leave contact information so your call can be returned.