After a grueling 10-ballot fight, Sunfish Lake businessman Mike McFadden won the Republican Party endorsement Saturday afternoon in Rochester.Delegates recessed early this morning after seven ballots showed a deadlock between two candidates — McFadden and Duluth Republican Chris Dahlberg. Throughout the balloting, Dahlberg lead on the balloting but the momentum switched to McFadden. On the eight ballot, Dahlberg's lead shrunk to a mere 3 votes. By the ninth ballot, McFadden had taken the lead, winning 53 percent of the vote to Dahlberg's 45 percent.
Before the tenth ballot was announced, Dahlberg conceded to McFadden. "I don't like to lose, but I'm going to get behind that person that wins that endorsement and I will, he said.
A hoarse McFadden thanked the crowd for their endorsement and promised to give it all he has got to beat U.S. DFL Sen. Al Franken in November.
"I look forward to taking the fight to Al Franken," he said. "We have a better vision, all of us in this room. We need to get back on the road to growth and prosperity."McFadden came into the endorsing convention stating he would not abide by the endorsement, while other candidates such as Dahlberg and Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen said they would. By scoring the endorsement, McFadden has likely been spared for an expensive and highly-contested August primary fight. One candidate, Anoka Republican state Rep. Jim Abeler has said he will go to the primary. Other candidates eliminated earlier in the balloting included Navy intelligence office Phillip Parrish,Bison Stillwater farmer Monti Moreno and Abeler.