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Faribault county hosts caucuses

By Staff | Feb 11, 2018

Bill Eckles addresses the Republican crowd.

The Republican party held their precinct caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Blue Earth Area High School Commons. A total of 46 voters participated in a straw poll to gauge local opinion on the gubernatorial race.

Jeff Johnson, the 2014 Republican nominee for governor and current Hennepin County commissioner, placed first in the local poll and received 18 votes.

Meanwhile, Woodbury mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens finished second as she collected 13 votes. Blue Earth native and United States Navy veteran Phillip Parrish rounded out the top three with 12 votes.

Former chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota Keith Downey received a single vote. He was the only other candidate who received consideration in the poll.According to Republican caucus convener Bill Erickson, the low turnout number was to be expected. By comparison, a total of 340 votes were received at the 2016 Faribault County GOP Caucus.

Turnout for the 2016 Republican caucus was far higher given the fact it was a presidential election year. In addition, the caucus featured a large pool of Republican candidates running for president.

That year, it was Ted Cruz who finished first in the Republican caucus with 135 votes. Ironically, eventual president Donald Trump finished in third place with 68 votes locally.

Despite the small turnout, Erickson still stressed the state-wide importance of this year’s election season.

“We will be electing a new governor and a new congressman in the First District this fall, as neither incumbent is running,” Erickson said. “As well as having both our U.S. Senator seats up for election at the same time.”

“It’s really quite a big year for us as Minnesotans to hopefully change the balance of power in our state,” he continued.

Faribault county hosts caucuses

By Staff | Feb 11, 2018

John Huisman acted as chair over the DFL caucus.

It was a small turnout for the Democrats in Blue Earth during the Minnesota caucus meeting last Tuesday, however all wards within the city were represented at the caucus.

Set in the Blue Earth Area Media Center, 20 local DFL party members were present to create and discuss resolutions to present to the upcoming county caucus on March 18 and put their straw vote in for governor of Minnesota.

There were a number of candidates running for Tim Walz’ open position in congress as he runs for governor. Those congressional candidates include Joe Sullivan, Dan Feehan, and Vicki Jensen.

Sullivan is a resident of Mankato. The issues Sullivan is choosing to focus his campaign on include improving the Affordable Care Act with a specific focus on rural communities, investing in roads and other infrastructure needs, bringing his expertise on clean energy to D.C. and expanding renewable energy, fighting for agricultural communities, and emphasizing the importance of education on both the basic and collegiate levels.

As for Dan Feehan, this Red Wing native and army veteran has shared his passion for public service. After 9/11, Feehan served as an active duty soldier from 2005 to 2009 and completed two combat tours as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon his return to the states, he began teaching first graders on Chicago’s south side, followed by two years spent as a middle school math teacher in Gary, Indiana. Feehan later served as an acting Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon in the Obama administration.

Vicki Jensen is a small business owner, a farm family advocate, former school board member and state senator who is standing with farm families as she informs Washington that big ag companies may not be the answer for Minnesota’s needs. She hopes to fight for a strong farm bill and stronger enforcement against anti-trust violators. She feels southern Minnesota Products and food is “too important to leave in the hands of corporations who have profit as their highest motivator.”

As the evening’s discussion continued, and the voting came to a close, a unanimous decision was made for the local DFL’s choice for governor. All 20 members in attendance voted for Tim Walz for governor.

And, according to the Minnesota DFL Party, it was reported to have an “enthusiastic turnout” across the state, while the Republican Party’s caucus attendance was reported to have lower numbers than their 2016 turnout.

According to the state DFL?party, turnout at the DFL caucuses was notably higher than in recent non-presidential years. With 70 percent reporting and precincts still outstanding, the DFL?expects to surpass 30,000 attendees tripling the turnout of their GOP counterparts this caucus.

“Between this strong showing and our record-breaking fundraising numbers, it’s clear our party is heading into this pivotal election year with the energy it needs to create a blue wave across Minnesota,” said one DFL-er.

Throughout the state, Tim Walz unofficially claimed victory in the gubernatorial straw poll with 30.5 percent of the state-wide votes in his favor. State Auditor Rebecca Otto and State Representative Erin Murphy came in second and third, respectively.

However, there is still much competition and plenty to discuss before the upcoming elections as many candidates still have months to go before the official endorsements.