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GOP endorses Housley, Newberger for U.S. Senate

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Nearly 1,700 delegates endorsed state Sen. Karin Housley to run against DFL incumbent Tina Smith.

The Minnesota Republican Party has had its share of charged, nail-biting moments at its state conventions. 

The first day of the 2018 convention in Duluth wasn’t one of them.    

After a long spell of downtime while convention organizers were forced to switch from faulty electronic ballots to paper balloting, the nearly 1,700 delegates endorsed state Sen. Karin Housley to run against DFL incumbent Tina Smith and state Rep. Jim Newberger to run against DFL incumbent Amy Klobuchar. Both Housley and Newberger faced endorsement challengers, but both won easily on the first ballot.

Housley’s race against Smith is expected to be more competitive than Newberger’s challenge to Klobuchar. Smith, appointed by Gov. Dayton to replace Al Franken, has limited experience on the campaign trail and will face Housley, a state Senator since 2010, on relatively equal footing. Former George W. Bush administration official Richard Painter is also running for Senate on the DFL side. 

In her endorsement speech, Housley was greeted with a standing ovation and delivered the delegates what they wanted: broadside attacks on Smith, who Housley called a member of the “metro area liberal elite… a senator who has done nothing but stand in the way of President Trump… a self-proclaimed member of the resistance [with] a do-nothing mentality.”

Housley and Smith will facing off amid an election year when a record number of women will be on the ballot. “This is the year of the woman across the country,” Housley noted in an interview. “I hope it can encourage more women to stand up and not always have a man encourage them to run but to actually just jump in and run on their own. If it does that one thing, that we have a woman running against a woman, it would be a success.”

Newberger faces a more challenging race, against two-term incumbent Klobuchar, who won her last race, in 2012, with more than 65 percent of the vote. In his endorsement speech, Newberger vowed to “upend the neo-socialist DFL.”

“The 12-year reign of ultra-liberal Amy Klobuchar must come to end,” he said.  “Minnesota needs to send Senator Klobuchar packing. For nearly a decade she has fed the swamp.”

The real meat of the convention comes on Saturday, with the party’s endorsement of a candidate for governor. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, the party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2014, holds the delegate lead, but some delegates may be quietly supporting a candidate who isn’t making an appearance. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty bypassed the convention and the endorsement process and will challenge the Republican endorsee in the August 14 primary.

state Rep. Jim Newberger
MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
State Rep. Jim Newberger received the Republican endorsement to run against DFL incumbent Amy Klobuchar.

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/02/2018 - 09:16 am.

    Good One, Karin!

    That Housley, what a comedian. She said, “Real Minnesotans need representation, too, not just the metro liberal elites.”

    And she’s a millionaire from, yup, the metro area! I love an ironic sense of humor.

    But more seriously, what’s with the politics of division? Why is it OK to slam half of the state? I work hard, pay my federal taxes to support those rural Red states, raise my a family, but none of that counts because I live in the 651?

    We need to senator to represent all of MN, not just the suburban millionaires.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/04/2018 - 09:22 am.

      You Don’t Understand, Mr. Phelan

      When metro area residents say anything critical regarding the rural areas (as, for example, pointing out how they are subsidized by our tax dollars), it’s playing the politics of divisiveness.

      When Republicans slam the metro area, it’s standing up for the Real Minnesota.

      I’m sure you can understand the distinction.

  2. Submitted by Leon Webster on 06/03/2018 - 10:27 am.

    Not only do we pay taxes to support the red states, but if I recall correctly, we metro liberal elitests are also subsiding those who live and work outstate. But seriously, I don’t see how the Republican strategy of playing the metro area against outstate has any long term viability. Over the long run, the percentage of people who live in the metro area is going to grow, and as it does, it will be harder for Republicans to elect state-wide officials. And eventually the number of seats in the legislature will become more tilted towards the metro area.

    Speaking as a proud member of the liberal elite, Republicans are eventually going to have to come with some ideas that I can embrace. But so far, all they seem able to do is push rural, red neck identity politics.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/03/2018 - 12:04 pm.

    You’ll get your wish Senator Housley

    There is not a single reason to vote for a Republican. Senator Housley if you had been paying attention you would’ve noticed the swamp is the Republican Party. Republicans don’t even like the current Republican Party as they are leaving in record numbers. Your party is the party of hypocrisy and divisiveness caused by the phony Republican principle that are only in effect when the Democrats are in control. Conservative does not accurately reflect the Republican Party that was willing to add $10,000,000,000,000 to the national debt. Tim Pawlenty is the Republican that left the State of Minnesota $6,000,000,000 in debt. George W. Bush took the world economy to the point of nearly collapsing it. The Minnesota Republican Party even has trouble paying off their own debt. That is a despicable history to expect us to now believe the Republican Party knows anything about fiscal responsibility. The Republican philosophy has a difficult time convincing anyone they have any concern and intention of helping anyone that may need some assistance. The Republican Party would like nothing more than to turn Minnesota into another Mississippi so they will have adequate funds to give to the wealthy, the Republican Party’s laundered money pool, to fund political campaigns. The Republican’s favorite statement “In the tradition of Ronald Reagan” is dead because it was a Republican manufactured falsehood. Now you have In the Tradition of Donald J. Trump. Good luck with that one because it too is a falsehood based on Trump’s daily lies. By the way you sound just as divisive as the rest of your party with your Trumpian name calling. As you wish a woman will become the next Senator representing the people of Minnesota, it just won’t be you.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/03/2018 - 05:26 pm.

      Bush Had Plenty of Help

      Bush had a nice assist on collapsing the global economy. Clinton greased the skids with getting rid of all of those old fashioned banking regulations, Wall Street loved Slick Willy, and far too many Democrats were right there with him. Does anyone really think they would pay Hillary Clinton hundreds of thousands for speeches if she were their enemy?

      • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/03/2018 - 07:27 pm.

        It’s always the other guy.

        If the Republicans didn’t like what the Democrats did then they should have changed it. Republicans are good at that as they have nearly erased President Obama’s legacy. Too bad it won’t be the Republicans that decide how President Obama did, it will be the historians. I think what little Trump has done will have a short shelf life, but much damage.

        • Submitted by Paul Yochim on 06/03/2018 - 09:41 pm.

          Would you….

          please be more specific about the erasure of former President Obama’s legacy.

          • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/04/2018 - 07:07 am.

            If it has President Obama’s name

            Trump has done everything he can to delete it or weaken it. It doesn’t have to make any sense for Trump do it just has to have President Obama’s name on it. Example was the ACA or so called Obamacare. Trump and his buddies badmouthed it from sunrise to sunset, got the opportunity to get rid of it, had nothing to replace it and in the end weakened it, all because it had President Obama’s name on it.

            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/04/2018 - 08:55 am.


              What does that have to do with the many corporate Democrats who had a hand in dismantling Wall Street regulations, and those who only barely managed to pass the tepid Dodd-Frank? Yes, even the tepid reforms were too much for the plutocrats and their GOP politicians, but that in no way absolves people like the Clintons and Obama.

              Part of the reason we got Don Trump is that working people were rightly aware that some Democrats, including the presidential nominee, were too cozy with Wall Street. So cozy, they couldn’t even support a minimum wage of “fifteen bucks an hour”, a health care plan that didn’t preserve the role of private insurers, or even a public option.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/04/2018 - 09:55 am.


                Are you saying that working people supported Trump because of their frustration over no movement on the minimum wage, or no public option for health care? Their frustration led them to vote for a candidate who was never, ever going to support either of those ideas?

                • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/04/2018 - 12:20 pm.


                  I’m saying that some people see two parties cozy with Wall Street, in favor of free trade agreements that are negotiated in secret by corporate lawyers, and figure it doesn’t make a difference who they vote for.

                  In 1992, union members were told to vote for Clinton, he was the jobs guy. Months later, they were told, “let Clinton know you don’t want this NAFTA deal,” his signature accomplishment in 8 years.

                  A lot union members were told, “Vote for Obama, he’ll pass the Employee Free Choice Act.” He didn’d do anything for labor in 8 years, saying virtually nothing while the GOP was torching labor rights in state after state.

                  So is it any surprise that by 2016 some people stayed home, and some people figured “How bad can the other guy be? We’re already getting screwed.” So some voted for the first anti-free trade major party POTUS candidate since the 80’s.

                • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/04/2018 - 02:15 pm.

                  Working people who voted for Trump

                  Did not do so based on any cogent awareness of economic platforms. They did so because Republican rhetoric over the past 50 years has turned them into authoritarian followers incapable of basic reasoning or judgment of character.

                  Folks are susceptible to the authoritarian appeal due to existential fear and economic parlousness. For our lifetimes both the Republican and the Democratic establishment, in different ways and obviously to different extents, have pursued economic and social insurance policies that shift wealth and power upward and accentuate that fear and parlousness among the classes below. If the Democratic party had pushed actual progressive populist policies over these decades, those who voted for Trump would not have been nearly as susceptible to the authoritarian appeal.

                  This is not at all a “Both Sides” argument – many Democratic leaders are decent people with decent motives, and when they are in power cause far less damage than Republicans – but for this reason, the Democratic establishment did contribute very significantly to the election of Trump.

        • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/04/2018 - 11:46 am.

          All the comments on Minnpost prove

          if Republicans and Democrats would work together on legislation, as they did years ago, we wouldn’t be in the grid lock we are in. Politicians actually worked across the aisle for the betterment of the country, not just a select few. Today’s politics are loaded with poison pills, vindictiveness, irrational justification, being against something once in favor of, racism. misogyny, name calling, too much lobbying influence, and any number of other reasons for not to working together is why we are where we are. It won’t get any better until we get back to working together. Unfortunately working together isn’t even on the horizon. It is going to take a House and Senate cleaning to get there because those there now have too much political baggage to change. The public is not the reason so many are leaving politics now. Lack of progress is the reason. While we dilly dally the rest of the world is moving on. America is in a despicable political condition right now.

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