The last time Dean Mahlstedt posted to his 2010 Senate campaign website, he was mighty peeved at Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers:
Apparently Jesus is no longer going to be a part of the MN House of Reps according to a video of a floor speech/apology by Speaker Zellers.
Since we don't recall the Speaker censuring any divine figure, we'll assume that the Cokato Township conservative was confusing toxic Christian rocker Bradlee Dean with Christ.
In 2010, Mahlstrom sought the Republican endorsement in Senate District 18. Bluestem noted at the time:
The Hutchinson Leader reports that former state representative and attorney Scott Newman was endorsed yesterday after the third ballot:
Newman won on the third official ballot. On the first ballot, he captured 105 votes, while Dean Mahlstedt received 96, Randy Wilson got 27, and Tim Benoit, 12. Wilson and Benoit dropped out after the first ballot.
To win the endorsement, a candidate needed 60 percent of the votes from the 236 total ballots cast.
On the second ballot, Newman received 131 votes, and Mahlstedt, 105.
On the third ballot, Newman received 139 votes and Mahlsted received 95 votes. Mahlstedt conceded to Newman after the third ballot.
Though unopposed in his bid for endorsement at the same 2010 convention, Urdahl was not given the thumbs up until the third ballot given the ideological panty-sniffing conducted by the area's extreme right.
Since Mahlstedt retained a solid block of votes among the purity panty-sniffers, it's safe to say that the rural Cokato Republican has some following--and perhaps that group guided Senator Scott Newman's hand toward the "No" button for the stadium vote.
Ron Shimanski, who lost an endorsement battle to No-voting uber-conservative Glenn Gruenhagen, voted "Yes," as did Urdahl.
As the only sitting legislator in Senate District 18 to vote yes, Urdahl was taking heat from the Mahlsedt wing of the local Republican Party. Jake Grovum at PIM reported in Local GOPers consider Urdahl endorsement after Vikings vote:
A single delegate in the new Senate District 18 is trying to get local Republicans to pull Rep. Dean Urdahl’s endorsement because the five-term lawmaker voted in support of the Vikings stadium last week.
The delegate, Dean Mahlstedt, has asked that the Senate District 18 GOP reconsider its endorsement because of the vote. . . .
Mahlstedt, the delegate raising the Urdahl issue, has run against endorsed candidates in the past, Hoversten said, and that could be playing a role in the attempted endorsement challenge.
Hoversten wouldn’t say how the Meeker County GOP might come down on the issue over advice to Senate District 18. But he made clear he hopes the issue goes away quickly.
Since PIM is behind a firewall, most of those tweeting about the prospect of an un-endorsement were relying on West Central Tribune reports about last night's meeting. In the late morning yesterday, the WCT reported that Meeker Co. Republicans to discuss reconsidering Urdahl endorsement. Just after 5 p.m., the paper updated the news with Urdahl to meet tonight with Republicans in Litchfield, Minn.:
Urdahl, R-Grove City, will tell those who gather that they are setting a very dangerous precedent by attempting to take away an endorsement over his vote. “If legislators are required to contact party leaders before every major vote, to make sure it is all right with them, it is a pretty pathetic way to make a decision,’’ he said.
He will also tell them that he based his decision on three things: “my conscience, my constituents and my caucus.’’
Urdahl considers those calling for the unusual action of taking away the endorsement a small minority in the party, and not representative of it.
He voiced frustration that he has voted consistently for conservative issues. “And you take one step off the path they think you should be on, and they attack.’’
According to Bluestem's sources, and Glencoe's McLeod County Chronicle this same group played an important role in the retirement of moderate Republican Steve Dille in 2010. The Chronicle's editor wrote at the time of the 2010 McLeod County Republican Convention:
Dille's sin, in some conservatives' minds, was his willingness to work with both sides of the aisle at the State Capitol. Apparently that is considered fraternizing with the enemy nowadays. In the old days that was called finding a solution.
Yesterday, the Litchfield Independent Review reported in Urdahl's GOP endorsement under fire:
The party endorsed Urdahl in March. But, protest within the party emerged after Urdahl voted last week to spend $348 million on a new $975 million stadium. Urdahl defended his vote Monday, stating the money would come from electronic pull tab gambling and electronic linked bingo.
“I would not have supported a new stadium (bill) that took general fund dollars or created a new tax,” Urdahl said.
State Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, voted against the stadium bill and expressed doubt about the proposed funding method. “I oppose this method of funding because the general public is responsible for the debt on the stadium irrespective of whether the tax on electronic pull tabs is sufficient and there is no proof that this new form of revenue will be sufficient,” he wrote in a statement.
On Monday afternoon, Hoversten said he would oppose withdrawing Urdahl’s endorsement. “We’ve got an endorsed candidate. Let’s move forward. This is a tough issue for the Republican Party,” he said.
Ace DFL stadium fan Hal Kimball tweets this morning that a member of the wingnut wing posted late last night that "it was much ado about nothing." We'll update this post as more news comes out.
Update: PIM reports in Despite challenge, Urdahl endorsement safe after Vikings vote that the Meeker County Republicans declined the reconsider the endorsement.
Disclosure: Bluestem's editor is a volunteer for Nancy Larson, the DFL endorsed candidate running against Dean Urdahl. This post (and blog) represents the editor's personal opinion alone.
Photo: Local wingnut Dean Mahlstedt.