As First District Republicans prepare for their endorsing convention on Saturday in Albert Lea, they are looking to avoid a repeat of their epic 2012 convention.
That year the endorsing battle between Mike Parry and Allen Quist raged on for 23 ballots and 14 hours at the Kato Ballroom in Mankato. The convention deadlocked over which candidate to endorse and eventually had to disband in the wee hours of the morning because of state liquor laws. Quist went on to beat Parry in the August primary and lost to DFL Congressman Tim Walz.
This time, the district's Rules Committee is proposing that if after 20 ballots a candidate does not receive the number of votes required for an endorsement, the convention adjorn, according to First District Republicans Chairwoman Carol Stevenson. This new rule will have to win the blessing of the delegates, and there's a possibility it will be challenged.
Three candidates are seeking the party's endorsement to take on Walz. They are Rochester state Rep. Mike Benson of Rochester, Blue Earth businessman Jim Hagedorn and Byron Army veteran Aaron Miller. Republican party leaders say at this point all signs indicate it is a tight three-man race.
Stevenson did note that this year's convention will be taking place at Southwest Middle School in Albert Lea as opposed to a business with a liquor license.
"We're in a school, so I'm told we can be there until Monday morning," she said.
So Republican delegates, you may want to pack plenty of snacks and an overnight bag.