The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 1, 2014

Republicans excited for caucus Tuesday

MANKATO — Republican activists across Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District are looking forward to Minnesota's precinct caucuses on Tuesday night, particularly given the packed Republican fields in all three statewide races.

First District Republican chair Carol Stevenson said the caucuses are the first step in the political process. She said it is essential for any interested Republicans to attend so they can "make their voice heard" on their preferred candidates.

The caucuses are at 7 p.m. and will involve splitting attendees into groups based on the precinct they live in. These "groups of neighbors" will discuss politics and elect delegates for the Republican county conventions. The delegates elected at the county conventions will vote on the party endorsement at the congressional district and state conventions.

Caucus visitors also will submit suggestions for political platforms for the state party, which will be a guide of Republican officials. Finally, caucus attendees will vote in the official straw poll for the U.S. Senate and governor races.

“I’m excited. We have a diverse group of candidates in each race. It should be really interesting,” Stevenson said.

Group discussion

Regional Republican activists agreed that ongoing problems with the launch of the Affordable Care Act and MNsure, which is Minnesota's local implementation of the law, would be the primary discussion point at the Republican caucuses.

Stevenson said she is optimistic the problems with the law will be enough to motivate typically dormant Republicans to attend the caucuses.

“People are receiving cancellation notices. They are going to work hard to get somebody that can make some changes. It’s going to motivate a lot of folks that may not have been active,” Stevenson said.

Blue Earth County Republican chair John Hollerich agreed that Obamacare would dominate the discussion. He said he was hopeful it would motivate Republicans to unify to elect candidate that would seek to tackle the programs.

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