MANKATO — The full roster of endorsed Republican candidates for statewide office stopped here Tuesday to call for party unity around the endorsement process in the wake of the weekend's Republican state convention in Rochester.
The Mankato visit was part of a statewide tour. The stop featured gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden and 1st Congressional District candidate Aaron Miller.
McFadden and Johnson said they believe a focus on growing jobs and addressing the struggling economy will be the main issues that will capture the attention of voters this election.
McFadden, who is challenging Democrat incumbent Sen. Al Franken, said Minnesotans are very concerned about their financial security.
“We have a serious problem. We have less money in our pockets,” McFadden said. “Sen. Franken is waging a war on jobs. He has destroyed jobs in our state.”
Johnson, who is challenging DFL incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton, said people want to see job growth in the state.
“(People) are concerned businesses are not choosing to expand here or start here,” Johnson said.
Miller, who is running against Democrat incumbent Congressman Tim Walz of Mankato, said he is looking forward to contrasting his conservative principles of free market economy and limited government against Walz's liberal positions.
He said he also plans to contrast his health care reform plan against the legislation of the Affordable Care Act. He said his plan emphasizes health care saving accounts, people being able to carry insurance across jobs and competition across state lines.
“(My approach) is real reform, not a government takeover of health care,” Miller said.
Miller joined the statewide candidates for their Tuesday trip, including for the stops in Austin, Sioux Falls and La Crosse, Wis.
The tour's focus was on emphasizing the need to support endorsed Republican candidates in their respective races. That was the theme even in the shadow of the ongoing debate among Republican activists over whether the party endorsement is still relevant in modern campaigns. In fact, McFadden himself said he did not plan to abide by the Republican endorsement prior to receiving it.