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With primary fight looming, big GOP names co-host Loon fundraiser

Former U.S. Senators, current congressmen and legislators line up to back Eden Prairie State Rep. Jennifer Loon, who may be challenged by activist Sheila Kihne.

Two congressmen, two former U.S. Senators, and the minority leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate are part of unusually high-powered group of hosts for a fundraiser on behalf of a state representative.

Norm Coleman, Rudy Boschwitz, Tom Emmer, David Hann, Kurt Daudt, Erik Paulsen, and John Kline are supporters of Eden Prairie Republican Jenifer Loon. Loon is running for re-election after failing to receive her party’s endorsement because of her vote last year to make same-sex marriage legal in Minnesota.

Sheila Kihne, an activist who may challenge Loon in a primary, led the fight to deny Loon’s endorsement. “I will make a decision on running in primary after the legislative session ends and before June 1,” she said in an email.

Kihne indicated that Loon’s vote on gay marriage would be an issue in a primary campaign. “It’s no surprise that Jenifer Loon would continue to use her vote to redefine marriage in Minnesota as a fundraising opportunity,” she said in the email. “Her largest donors have shifted from friends and neighbors in our district to out-of-state liberal donors to Democrat causes.”

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The hosts of the Loon fundraisers are neither Democrats nor non-Minnesotans.

In addition to elected officials, former Republican party chair Ron Ebensteiner and co-chair Annette Meeks (Tom Emmer’s running mate during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign) are among the co-hosts of the May 20 fundraiser.

The legislature is scheduled to adjourn May 19. 

Loon was one of four Republican state representatives to vote for gay marriage. David Fitzsimmons of St. Michael was also denied GOP endorsement and is not running again. Andrea Keiffer of Woodbury did not seek re-election. Pat Garafolo of unanimously won Republican endorsement in Farmington.