MN GOP state convention: Backing Pete Hegseth for US Senate endorsement

posted at 10:01 am on May 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Today begins our two-day Republican state convention in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and I’m attending as both a delegate and as media.  Later this afternoon, Mitch Berg and I will broadcast live from the convention to give our analysis of the events, including the speeches of GOP luminaries.  Ron Paul will speak to the convention at some point, as well various candidates for state offices, as well as the usual wrangling over rules, platforms, and infighting over party issues.

The big event at this convention will be the endorsement of a candidate for the US Senate race.  Minnesota has a two-tier system, where parties endorse and then candidates can still choose to fight for the nomination in a primary.  Usually, all candidates pledge to abide by the endorsement, but also usually, we end up having to hold primaries.  We’ll see if 2012 will be an exception.

Republicans are fortunate to have three solid contenders for the spot opposite Amy Klobuchar in the fall: state legislators Kurt Bills and Dan “Doc” Severson (formerly in the legislature) and former chair of Vets for Freedom Pete Hegseth.  As a delegate, I have to cast a vote for one of the three — probably several times over, as this is expected to go through many ballots before one candidate gets the 60% necessary to win the endorsement.  I will cast my ballot for Pete Hegseth.  I’ve known Pete for several years, and have watched him succeed in reorganizing VFF into a powerful, effective political force in support of the mission in Iraq.  Pete served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in fact just returned from the latter a couple of months ago.

In this race, the legislative experience in the state will be less determinative against Klobuchar than organizing skill and the ability to nationalize this Senate race.  Both Bills and Severson have the experience to do the job, but Pete is a very quick study and has the right principles in place already.  He brings his national reach to a race where the state party is disorganized enough to handicap whomever gets the endorsement.  We will need someone who can engage the entire country in fighting Klobuchar’s record of near-total support for the Barack Obama agenda, plus a narrative that appeals to Minnesota voters.  Of the three, Pete has the best chance of succeeding in that regard.

However, we are fortunate to have Bills and Severson as our other options.  I will gladly support the candidate who wins the endorsement this weekend, and if it’s not Pete, I’ll be working hard to assist either Kurt or Doc in making the national case for replacing Klobuchar.

I won’t be able to blog on my normal schedule, so you will see Dustin Siggins, Erika Johnsen, and Robert Bluey guest-blogging today.  I do hope to have some reports from the floor as the day unfolds, so stay tuned, and be sure to join us for the first of three NARN broadcasts this afternoon.


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Wish I was there Ed. Pete Hegseth reminds me a ;lot of Paul Ryan. I like Doc Severson also, but Pete would get my vote too.

Amendment X on May 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Great choice, Mr. Morrissey.

GOPRanknFile on May 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Go Hegseth!

gophergirl on May 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Ed, what are the chances of a GOP stunner here?

Klobochar’s a lightweight from what I’ve seen, so her running in a year where the Republicans will be turning out heavily can’t be good for her, unlike Al Franken getting pushed over the top by fraudulent votes during a Dem wave election in 2008.

teke184 on May 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Too bad you cant get rid if Al Frankin this year

ldbgcoleman on May 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Since Franken was campaigning on the idea that the junior senate seat was supposed to be a “Jewish seat”, is it okay for a Scandinavian to campaign on the senior seat as being “other-than Jewish seat”, or would that suddenly be racist?

I’d definitely find a way of pointing that out to the voters of Minnesota so that they might choose some diversity in politics.

Buddahpundit on May 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Let us know if the Ron .Paul folk are.rude like they were in AZ

Got family in st cloud….have fun

cmsinaz on May 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM

This would be a pleasant-surprise pickup in November. MN needs to make up for sending Franken to the U.S. Senate. I fail to see how a state sends someone as lunchy as Klobuchar to DC. Then, again, Ohio sent Sherrod Brown there in 2006, thanks to the idiots running the Ohio GOP.

Go Hegseth.

BuckeyeSam on May 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I won’t be able to blog on my normal schedule

…I don’t like it when you’re gone!…but!…usually when you get back you have an attitude and YOU ARE on fire!…sooooooo… it’s ok!… ( too make sure…I’ll check with bluegill for you)

KOOLAID2 on May 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I had the distinct privilege and honor of meeting Doc Severson back when I lived in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and I’m convinced that both he and Pete Hegseth have the bonafides needed to give Klobuchar a serious run for her money if not take her down completely if the tide turns the way I expect it will as we approach the election.

Sounds like you can’t go wrong, Ed. :)

Red Cloud on May 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM

MN should send at least one man to the US Senate.

Extrafishy on May 18, 2012 at 10:26 AM

I like this Hegseth fellow. I have heard of him for a few years, first on Blackfive.net.

Another veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan in the Senate would be a huge plus for our country. His work for other vets shows a high degree of personal character, something also sorely needed in the Senate.

Paging Sarah Palin, look closely here and give this good man a fundraising boost!

Go Pete Hegseth!

Brian1972 on May 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM

This would be a pleasant-surprise pickup in November. MN needs to make up for sending Franken to the U.S. Senate.

Minnesota did not send Al “Frankenstein” Franken to the Senate. That was done by Mark Ritchie, a faithful Dem toady on George Soros payroll.

Archivarix on May 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t thin anyone’s bothered to poll this race since January, and none of the polling to date has included Klobuchar v. Hesgeth or Klobuchar v. Bills matchups.

steebo77 on May 18, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Ed, what are the chances of a GOP stunner here?

Klobochar’s a lightweight from what I’ve seen, so her running in a year where the Republicans will be turning out heavily can’t be good for her, unlike Al Franken getting pushed over the top by fraudulent votes during a Dem wave election in 2008.

teke184 on May 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM

She’s got major name recognition. Her Dad was a big time columnist at the Strib for years. I think she was a horrible county attorney but to many people – that doesn’t matter.

It’s going to be tough to unseat her IMO.

gophergirl on May 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Minnesota did not send Al “Frankenstein” Franken to the Senate. That was done by Mark Ritchie, a faithful Dem toady on George Soros payroll.

Archivarix on May 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Yep

gophergirl on May 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM

No one’s going to comment on how ridiculously, ridiculously good-looking he is?

But why male models?

Abby Adams on May 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

After reading Sean Trende’s piece this morning, I’m feeling our chances in MN for 2012 are fairly decent – maybe not quite 50%, but decent.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/05/18/romney_faces_a_blue_wall_–_but_is_it_solid.html

Uncledave on May 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM

But if Amy isn’t there, who will work at the federal level on pressing issues like bullying and lead battery terminals in kids sport bikes?

strictnein on May 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

I don’t see how any Democrat, especially a Senate Democrat, can win re-election. What have they done that warrants their re-election? They can’t even pass a budget. They allow Reid to stay as their leader in the Senate and he refuses to pass a budget. Either they’re this stupid, which I don’t believe, or they’re hiding something and don’t want the Republicans to change things.

bflat879 on May 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Good choice Ed. Pete is top notch! The others would be good as well. Klobuchar has got to go! I wonder if there will be enough anti incumbent sentiment to give ol’ Amy the boot? I hope so. If we could just have Minneapolis and Duluth secede and for their own screwed up states we’d be much better off.

Minnfidel on May 18, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Hegseth is the only candidate with any chance of defeating Klobuchar.

matthew8787 on May 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Let us know if the Ron .Paul folk are.rude like they were in AZ

Got family in st cloud….have fun

cmsinaz on May 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM

I doubt it. The AZ crew are well-known within the Paul circles as being unusually… spirited. Something about “Not just libertarians… Arizona libertarians.”

I suspect the MN crew is much more reserved and polite.

JohnGalt23 on May 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM

I am glad you are publicizing Pete Hegseth’s candidacy. He is an oustanding individual.

The day it was published, I read then Lieutenant Pete’s October 4, 2006 column in the Wall Street Journal “More Boots, Please” calling for what became known as the surge in the Iraq War (where my older son, also then a Lieutenant, was then deployed). Pete Hegseth was right in his column, and fortunately, President GW Bush would three months later announce what became known as the surge.

Pete has shown all the virtues of intelligence, patriotism, and courage that makes him an outstanding candidate.

Phil Byler on May 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I am also a delegate in Saint Cloud right now from Washington County.

And I am proudly backing Bills along with over 40 state legislators including House Speaker Zellers and State Senator Thompson. Hopefully 60% of my fellow delegates support me in doing so. Hegseth and Severson are fine conservatives but I don’t believe either of them are bold enough to make the necessary economic decisions that must be made. As an economics teacher and one of the most fiscally conservative legislators, I think Bills knows what needs to be done. Again, I’ll support Hegseth and Severson if they win the nomination but I think we need to stay away from the Bush era conservatism and move in a more libertarian direction.

letoile du nord on May 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM

I doubt it. The AZ crew are well-known within the Paul circles as being unusually… spirited. Something about “Not just libertarians… Arizona libertarians.”

I suspect the MN crew is much more reserved and polite.

JohnGalt23 on May 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM

I wasn’t there, but from reports on Twitter the Paultards were obnoxious and disruptive in MN as well.

Hollowpoint on May 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

She’s got major name recognition. Her Dad was a big time columnist at the Strib for years. I think she was a horrible county attorney but to many people – that doesn’t matter.

It’s going to be tough to unseat her IMO.

gophergirl on May 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM

“Tough” is an understatement. There’s very little chance that any of the largely unknown GOP candidates will unseat Klobuchar and her familiar name.

It sucks, but that’s MN politics.

Hollowpoint on May 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM

This would be a pleasant-surprise pickup in November. MN needs to make up for sending Franken to the U.S. Senate. I fail to see how a state sends someone as lunchy as Klobuchar to DC. Then, again, Ohio sent Sherrod Brown there in 2006, thanks to the idiots running the Ohio GOP.

Go Hegseth.
BuckeyeSam on May 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Here’s the skinny on Klobuchar (or Klo): her father was a fairly popular columnist for the Star Tribune (a notoriously left wing rag here in MN. Matter of fact, John Cowles, former editor/publisher passed away and suggested memorials read like a who’s who of lefty organizations). So Klo had name recognition. She ran for Hennepin County Attorney and won on name recognition(I’ve repeated this many times, but if her last name were Smith, Jones, Abramowitz, she’d be running a call center in an outer ring suburb of Minneapolis). My friends in law enforcement have no time for her. But, she git her name in the paper and made the run for Senate.
She is a lightweight. She is an attention grabber with any victim she can find producing a bill sponsored her. However, for some unknown reason she is popular even if she is a lightweight lefty. And she’s a girl.
Beating her will be no easy task.
Amongst the non-political things I like about Pete is that he’s young, has a young family, is a vet and presents himself very well. He is not in any way shape or form an establishment Repub or a “Norm Coleman” who saw his only way out of just Minnesota politics was to become a Repub as he would always be competing against people with last names of “Mondale”, “Humphrey”, “Freeman” and “Klobuchar”, all well recognized names here in Minnesota.
But it bears repeating, beating Klo will not be easy, but it can be done.

Amendment X on May 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM

“Tough” is an understatement. There’s very little chance that any of the largely unknown GOP candidates will unseat Klobuchar and her familiar name.

It sucks, but that’s MN politics.

Hollowpoint on May 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I don’t buy that argument. Walter Mondale lost to Coleman for the senate. Mondale had a familiar name. Skip Humphrey came in third against Jesse Ventura and Norm Coleman for governor. The “familiar name” strategy isn’t very reliable around here. More like familiarity breeds contempt.

Buddahpundit on May 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Paul folk being very spirited then?

cmsinaz on May 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Living here in Minny it’s pretty simple:

Hegseth could pull a Craavack.

In which case, wallets will open.

No Hegseth, no chance, no dough.

Tell that to the dimwits assembled in St. Cloud.

Bruno Strozek on May 18, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I wasn’t there, but from reports on Twitter the Paultards were obnoxious and disruptive in MN as well.

Hollowpoint on May 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

From what Cap’n Ed said about the MN district conventions, it sounded like they maintained decorum the whole way through.

JohnGalt23 on May 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM

cmsinaz on May 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Quit lying about what happened in AZ. The shenanigans by the establishment are well documented.

iwasbornwithit on May 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

A good run-down of what happened in the caucus:

AZ Caucus Shenanigans

cmsinaz fails to mention the documented assault by a Romney supporter against a Paul supporter. The sergeant at arms removed the Romney supporter for the incident. Perhaps the GOP should try to follow its own rules and people wouldn’t be so “rude”. If the shoe were on the other foot, you can bet that the Romney people would be screaming bloody murder.

iwasbornwithit on May 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Hegseth it is, Klobuchar must go.

Mirimichi on May 18, 2012 at 5:49 PM

iwasbornwithit on May 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

i was there, they were truly rude to all speakers if they mentioned the word romney, all hell broke loose….

they lost my respect and a whole bunch of other folks who would sympathize with them….

cmsinaz on May 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM

iwasbornwithit on May 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

a ron paul video, why am i not surprised…

a lot of people were put off by the rudeness of the ron paul supporters throughout the ENTIRE convention….you lose the people when folks act that way

cmsinaz on May 18, 2012 at 6:04 PM