By Josh Moniz
---- — 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.
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.
Regional activists were unsure if any Republican affiliated group would make their presences known at the caucuses. Last election, Ron Paul supporters made their presence known in the Minnesota process and secured many state delegates.
A searchable database of caucus locations based on your address is available at the Minnesota Secretary of State website: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=886
Republican caucus locations Blue Earth County Residents in the northern half of Blue Earth County (Mankato, Lake Crystal, Madison Lake, Eagle Lake, etc.) will meet at Ostrander Auditorium at Minnesota State University.
Residents in the southern half of Blue Earth County (Mapleton, Good Thunder, Vernon Center, etc.) will meet at the Maple River High School in Mapleton.
Nicollet County Residents in all St. Peter precincts, Traverse township and Oshawa township will meet at St. Peter North Intermediate School.
Residents in Mankato, North Mankato and Belgrade township precincts will meet in Heritage Hall at South Central College. Residents in New Sweden, Granby and Lake Prairie township precincts will meet at Norseland Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Residents in Nicollet, Courtland and their related townships will meet at Nicollet Public School.
Residents in Lafayette and the townships of Bernadotte, Brighton, Lafayette, Ridgely, & West Newton will meet at Lafayette Community Center.
You can search for your precinct based on your address at the Minnesota Secretary of State website: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=886