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Rebellion in the ranks over GOP-endorsed legislative candidate Eric Lucero

Eric Lucero
Eric Lucero

There is open defiance of the state Republican Party’s urging that all GOP activists support endorsed candidates, and it’s coming from the most unlikely setting —Wright County, heart of the Sixth Congressional District where endorsements are next to godliness.

The Wright County Republican Party has taken the unusual step of denying support to Eric Lucero, the Dayton City Council member who won the Minnesota House District 30B endorsement over incumbent Rep. David FitzSimmons in a contest that hearkened back to the 1980s culture wars of Republican politics.

“The board is not very fond of Mr. Lucero,” said Eric Boone, event coordinator and board member of the Wright County GOP. “It stems from how he attacked David FitzSimmons.”

The attack came in the form of a pamphlet, distributed by the Minnesota Family Council, at the county’s endorsing convention in March, decrying FitzSimmons’ acceptance of campaign contributions from groups supporting him for his vote in favor of same sex marriage in the 2013 legislative session.

‘An ugly attack’

“It was an ugly attack,” said one delegate who preferred not to be named. “They talked about Fitz getting paid off with ‘gay money.’’’

Party leaders are equally upset with Lucero’s earlier campaign statements about the role of women. A section of his website (which has been removed) cited government “assault against the family unit,” including “gay marriage and the homosexual lifestyle” and “blending the gender distinctions such as women in combat and homosexuals openly serving in the military.”

“The party really can’t afford that kind of embarrassment,” Boone said.

When Lucero approached the Wright County GOP board last week, he asked for some of that “gay money,” in the form of financial support for his campaign. He was turned down.

“It would be hypocritical of Lucero to take this,” said Boone, who said that FitzSimmons had given his contributions to the Wright County GOP and other county groups. “He would be asking for the money he criticized.”

Leading the charge

Lucero, who did not return a call for an interview, has a primary opponent. Kevin Kasel is a St. Michael City Council member and a FitzSimmons supporter who was approached after the endorsing convention. He or Lucero would face DFLer Sharon Shimek in November.

“Challenging an endorsed candidate is tough, but I heard from enough activists … that the endorsing convention was extremely divisive,” said Kasel. “I was asked to lead the charge.”

A pamphlet distributed by the Minnesota Family Council
A pamphlet distributed by the Minnesota Family Council decrying FitzSimmons’ acceptance of campaign contributions from groups supporting him for his vote in favor of same sex marriage in the 2013 legislative session.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 06/26/2014 - 10:22 am.

    Threshold

    “The party really can’t afford that kind of embarrassment,” Boone said.

    It makes one wonder what the threshold for embarrassing behavior is okay with the Republicans. A drunken combative candidate for state supreme court, nope. How about a married senate leader having an affair, nope. The bar just seems to be getting lower and lower, but I guess that is not surprising.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/26/2014 - 11:45 am.

    Deal with it

    Dear Republicans: The anti-gay fanatics are your base. Yes, the tide of public opinion has shifted against them, and it is commendable that you recognize this by declaring Mr. Lucero to be an “embarrassment.”

    Red faces aside, you should remember that this type of embarrassment was mainstream Republican thinking until not very long ago. A certain member of Congress owes her political career to the kind of thinking that you now want to cover up. It wasn’t that long ago that the members of your party in the Legislature wanted to enshrine this kind of thing in the state Constitution. The people who embarrass you now are the ones who came to define your party.

    Cope.

    • Submitted by Bruce Young on 06/26/2014 - 11:07 pm.

      Deal with it yourself

      It wasn’t long ago – less than 20 years ago that most prominent Democrats did not support homosexual marriage. President Clinton and Hillary supported the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). What changed and who is wrong is still very much open for debate unless the Left is allowed to shout down reasoned dissent from the current fad. Not endorsing homosexual marriage is not equivalent to hating gays.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 06/28/2014 - 12:33 pm.

        Actually, 20 years ago IS a long time.

        I’m all for reasoned dissent, but I’ve yet to hear any….and the fact that you call same sex marriage a “fad” indicates that you’re no exception.

  3. Submitted by Rick Ryan on 06/26/2014 - 02:25 pm.

    $$

    Where does the Minnesota Family Council get its money? Who are the big money out of town contributors? Oh yeah they don’t have to report their contributions because…freedom.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/26/2014 - 04:17 pm.

      they don’t have to report their contributions because

      if they did, intolerant leftist groups would harass them at their home and business and SCOTUS has said they shouldn’t have to put up with it.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 06/26/2014 - 07:23 pm.

        yet SCOTUS just ruled

        that it’s okay for intolerant religious groups to harass women seeking a legal medical procedure…go figure.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/26/2014 - 07:22 pm.

    It bears repeating

    My thanks again to RB Holbrook.

    As for reporting contributions, Mr. Tester apparently feels – and the current reactionary SCOTUS agrees – that, since money constitutes speech (“…the mother’s milk of politics,” etc.), speech/money from SOME people is simply the honest expression that freedom should ensure, but that cannot stand the light of day because that light might bring some consequences, while speech/money from OTHER people, largely people with whom Mr. Tester disagrees, is poisonous, seditious, smoke-filled / back-room corruption of the most pernicious kind.

    Funny, how that seems to work…

  5. Submitted by John Hottinger on 06/29/2014 - 12:41 pm.

    Wright County GOP fight

    Congratulations to the leaders of the Wright County GOP. They are taking a principled stand for traditional GOP values and rejecting the Family Council “values” that promote hate for segments of the human race. I’m a DFLers, so would prefer that the most divisive Republicans run and lose, but in this case I am glad to see local leaders stand up against hate literature.

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