Minnesota’s GOP activists are still pretty bummed out about Donald Trump

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
State Sen. Dave Thompson said he would not consider a third party vote, but a vote for Donald Trump would come with an asterisk.

Talking to Republican activists about Donald Trump at last week’s 2nd Congressional District convention in Apple Valley was like listening to people suffering through the five stages of grief. From denial to anger to bargaining, it’s clear that these GOP voters have some distance to go before they reach acceptance.

“I’m not happy with any candidate on the ticket,” said delegate Bill Jungbauer, a former party chair in the second district. “I’m considering going with a third party. Why not vote with my heart instead of the lesser of two evils?”

State Sen. Dave Thompson said he would not consider a third party vote, but a vote for Trump would come with an asterisk. “He certainly is not a philosophical conservative,” he said. “The way he has talked about women and other people concerns me. But would I in my heart of hearts prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, the answer is yes. So that’s the dilemma with which I am left.”

Thompson also isn’t sure about the contention that Trump hurts all Republican candidates in Minnesota. “I think it’s going to be very balkanized,” he said. “Trump will hurt Republicans in the suburbs but you don’t know about the Iron Range where a number of people up there who are concerned about their economic future might like his protectionism.” 

State senator Julianne Ortman touched on Trump’s potential economic appeal as she addressed the delegates on Trump’s behalf. “He will create thousands and thousands of new jobs. He will negotiate good deals, better [trade] deals, right?” she asked the group which responded with mild applause.

Party chair Keith Downey and state Rep. Matt Dean suggested that Minnesota Republicans might have a more positive reaction if Trump himself delivered that message.

Keith Downey
MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Keith Downey

Downey is remaining neutral until after the state party convention on May 20-21, but he said that Trump needs to personally connect with activists, particularly those still committed to Sen. Ted Cruz.

Dean agrees. “I’m going to support our party’s endorsed candidate, but Trump needs to reach out and meet people where they are and that’s a lot of hard work,” he said.

A Trump appearance is unlikely at the GOP’s state convention on Friday and Saturday. Party rules require delegates to the national convention to be allocated according to votes taken in the presidential poll – 17 for Marco Rubio, 13 for Cruz, and 8 for Trump.  

Some activists are suggesting delegates at the state convention consider a Trump “no confidence” resolution to register their disapproval. Others have suggested the convention change the party name back to the Independent Republican party to create some distance. 

While delegates are unlikely to defy Trump’s nomination that brazenly, the state GOP convention will convene with the party’s presumed presidential nominee having a weak standing in the Minnesota delegation.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Jim Million on 05/16/2016 - 10:23 am.

    So be it…

    The “activists” seem to not matter much, especially those who dearly wanted Ted Cruz to whistle into victory. This is the Land of DFL, so not very much matters in national preference most years, anyway.

    Minnesota Republicans: very much a “down ballot” brigade. They need to get more effective in state races before they spend much more time and money on national politics. Doubt that will happen, given the major demo shifts of late around the state.

  2. Submitted by C.S. Senne on 05/16/2016 - 11:35 am.

    Name change !

    ” Others have suggested the convention change the party name back to the Independent Republican party to create some distance.” Yes, definitely adding “Independent” to “Republican party” will unleash a tsunami of support for the New Leader of the Republican Party, the esteemed Mr. Trump. What a great idea. That will erase all of the previous “unfair” press of the last 30 years connected to the Republican Candidate; all videotape of previous Trumpisms will disappear, and the Republican Party, headed by the self-described “tremendously brilliant” Donald J. Trump, will carry Minnesota and the country back to the good times. Mr. Trump’s “publicist” John Miller (John Barron) will certainly make more calls to People Magazine to define the Trump Doctrine on foreign policy more clearly for Mr. Trump, who, when asked who he consults on foreign policy, replied, “I’m speaking with myself…because I have a very good brain, and I’ve said a lot of things.” One might wonder how much “distance” Minnesota Republicans need from their newly-elected Nominee…

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/16/2016 - 12:02 pm.

    At this point

    any alleged republican who publicly opposes Trump is effectively endorsing the democrat (whoever that may be) and with it, the expected liberal SCOTUS appointees. Get a clue, people.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/16/2016 - 11:07 pm.


      They are not dogmatically supporting a Democrat, rather they are showing true concern about the lack of qualifications and apparent intellect of the apparent GOP nominee.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/17/2016 - 08:27 am.

      Here’s a clue…

      On one side we have the third term of Clintonism: a middle of the road, business friendly administration that over saw a growing economy and a balanced budget and a declining deficit. Not a bad option for Democrats and Republicans.

      On the other side we have crazy, undeliverable promises that will never be fulfilled on building and paying for the wall, the Muslim ban, and trade policy changes beyond what any President can do. Our best allies freaking out, reckless talk of nuclear proliferation and a party splitting apart.

      And those with a “clue” will automatically go for door #2? Once again we see party and ideology (whatever Trump’s ideology is) over country.

  4. Submitted by Marcia Wattson on 05/16/2016 - 12:36 pm.

    All you need to know

    The reaction of GOP party leaders in Minnesota and in the rest of the country to the Trump parade tells you everything you need to know about their values, priorities, and mode of operation in governance. To watch them fold in the face of Trump’s horrific pronouncements and clear unsuitability to be the President of the United States is painful and sickening. It is more important for them to vote for this immature, narcissistic bully than to work with Hillary to compromise on policies to address the long list of problems we face. A conservative Supreme Court is necessary to preserve the oligarchy, prevent government from doing anything, and protect the freedom to discriminate on religious grounds. An inclusive, compassionate, progressive approach to governing is just unthinkable. There is not a stitch of clothing left to cover the hypocrisy of the party of family values.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 05/16/2016 - 02:28 pm.

      Know when to show ’em…

      Know when to fold ’em.

      Didn’t they fold in the face of their presumed constituents this year? The Party got it wrong, wrong…and wrong again. There is lingering fallacy that Republicans are the big business brains of politics. Were that true, their market research would be far better than it has been for many years. Their last two presidential tickets were close to laughable. Never did they foul up so much as this cycle, for sure. That’s 0 for 3. Now they’re playing at working with Trump while loathing him. The derailment of delusion is a spectacle rarely seen or heard. Reminds me of when railroads only ran so far, because each often used a differing gauge standard.

      The Democrats are the business engine of change, including big changes in the business of government. Their market research is superb, allowing them to “push” plans and programs to the electorate. No “pull through” subtleties required. Watch their ads.

  5. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 05/16/2016 - 07:40 pm.

    Independent Republican…those were the days my friend…when

    did they ever end?

    But must say,I love the delegates quotes. It exposes so much

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