First District Republicans overwhelmingly voted to endorse Republican congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn last night.
Republican Party of Olmsted County Chairman Bruce Kaskubar said a total of 132 delegates gathered in Mankato for the convention. After delegates voted to consider endorsing Hagedorn, the Blue Earth Republican addressed the crowd. A standing vote was then held on endorsement. The vast majority of those in attendance stood up to vote for endorsement.
In April, First District Republicans voted to endorse Byron Army veteran Aaron Miller. Hagedorn had initially said he would abide by the endorsement and dropped out of the race. But he later jumped back in, saying Miller was not running an aggressive enough campaign against DFL 1st District Rep. Tim Walz. Hagedorn ended up pulling off an upset victory over Miller in the Republican primary in August. Hagedorn's decision to re-enter the race after initially agreeing to abide by the endorsement upset some Republicans, including Fillmore County Republican Chairman Doug Baker who sent a letter-to-the editor to several papers urging Republicans not to endorse Hagedorn.
Kaskubar said last night's endorsing convention made clear that Hagedorn has strong backing from party activists. Voters will decide between Hagedorn and Walz on Nov. 4.
Rochester GOP Sen. Dave Senjem, who attended the convention, estimates that only about 15 people stood up in opposistion to Hagedorn's endorsement. He said overall, the crowd was extremely welcoming and supportive of Hagedorn.
On his Facebook page, Hagedorn wrote a post thanking delegates for the endorsement.
"Honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of the Minnesota First District Republicans tonight in Mankato," Hagedorn wrote.
He continued, "Our party is fired up to defeat Tim Walz and the DFL."