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is the release from the Jeffers Campaign:
Minneapolis, Minnesota – Just two days before the start of the Minnesota Republican State Convention, Party officials had finally relented and scheduled an appointment for Sue Jeffers with the convention’s Nominating Committee. Wasting no time with formalities, the committee’s first question was about ties with the Libertarian Party. Jeffers explained that her first contacts were with the Republican Party and she had continued to be in contact with party officials up until a month ago. The Committee’s questioning of Sue Jeffers also focused on where she had obtained access to the Republican delegates’ list. “You mean the four copies I’ve received?” Jeffers asked the stunned committee. Jeffers refused to name names.
In the end, the committee decided (not unexpectedly) not to find Jeffers, “qualified.” Qualified is a new language twist in the convention endorsement rules this year.
Jeffers still maintains she is a qualified candidate, first and foremost by being a citizen of Minnesota. “Our Founding Fathers had a vision of a citizen-legislature – ordinary folks doing our civic duty and then stepping aside. Public service is not something only for the rich, well connected or an incumbent who has strayed from conservative principles,” Jeffers said.
While Jeffers was appearing before the committee, the convention was already getting underway. A motion to seat alternates was made unexpectedly, ahead of the scheduled itinerary. Chaos had ensued, as Party Officials had removed the registration rolls from the Congressional District tables, and alternates were unable to determine if they were seated or not. Senate District Chairs worked feverishly to seat their alternates, while voting of the proposed rules of the convention carried on. Half of the convention’s voting strength was in the hall, unable to vote or offer discussion.
A group of delegates, sympathetic to Jeffers’ right to speak at the convention were determined to strike certain new language from the convention rules, which forbids nominations from the floor. A dozen of them were prepared to make motions and offer discussion on the rules, but never had the opportunity to address the chair on the issue. Procedural tricks were used to prevent the issue being raised.
Many delegates expressed confusion, and then anger at the process. “They really rammed that though,” said Dave Shegstad, a delegate who ran for Minneapolis City Council last year. “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Why are they so afraid to hear another voice?” he mused.
Endorsement proceedings for the gubernatorial candidate were unexpectedly moved from the scheduled time on Saturday to Friday afternoon. This schedule change disrupted plans by a delegate caucus opposed to the new Twins ballpark that had planned to voice their concerns.
After Pawlenty’s gubernatorial candidate speech, without a motion to endorse for governor being made, seconded, discussed or voted on, a co-chair approached the podium to call for a vote. While Pawlenty’s speech was being applauded, the co-chair said, “Seeing that there is only one candidate, all in favor of endorsing Tim Pawlenty say aye.” Applause continued, but many delegates remained seated and silent. The gavel was banged, and Tim Pawlenty gave an immediate acceptance speech followed by a balloon drop and a music and light show.
Attendance was very low for the convention. Some out-state delegates said the cost was prohibitive. Others cited a lackluster agenda and no competition without Jeffers speaking. At one point it was questioned whether a quorum was present and on Friday, there was doubt enough delegates were present to achieve the 60% threshold required for an endorsement.
“This entire convention was just a show,” said delegate Dave Rasmus, “they work on the platform as a pacifier, so delegates think they have a say, but the candidates the leadership pushes through don’t even follow half of the platform. It’s just a big show.”
For her part, Sue Jeffers wasn’t discouraged. “It went pretty much how I expected,” she said. She plans to continue the race, mounting a primary challenge for the Republican spot on the ballot. “I’m taking my case straight to the people, and the powers that be in the party can’t shut me up anymore.”