One of the traditions out in Greater Minnesota is that local government is non-partisan in fact as well as by filing. And while as individual leaders often caucus with the parties of their choice and volunteer for campaigns, there's no party endorsement for county commissioner, city council, mayor or school board.
It's not like the Metro where the parties regularly endorse candidates for county board, mayor and city council, even though the filing are nonpartisan (primary contests make it possible that all of those running for an office belong to the same party).
Months after our county party and legislative endorsing conventions have come and gone, and candidate filings have closed, the McLeod County Republican's chair hassummoned local candidates to a screening on October 4 at the BPOU's executive board meeting and will offer the party's services--such as voter lists--to those who survive this unprecedented review process a month before the election.
McLeod County Chronicle editor Rich Glennie cries foul in County GOPers are way out of bounds:
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial ruling on unfettered campaign contributions, there seems to be no boundaries in the world of politics any more. Americans seem to have lost their collective political common sense and morals.
That also applies to the local level where the McLeod County Republican party hierarchy has now crossed the line and entered into the nonpartisan arena of city, county and school board elections.
Eric Harpel, GOP county chairman, sent letters to city council, county board and school board candidates asking them to fill out questionnaires and then attend an Oct. 4 GOP board meeting to explain their answers.
The candidates the GOP board likes will “gain access to our voter identifying tool that can assist you in marketing to potential constituents in your district,” Harpel wrote.
When did this elite group of conservatives think they could hijack the local elections?
Who gave them the right to demand anything? Who gave them the right to inject their harsh conservative litmus test into the race for mayor or school board or the county board for that matter!. . .
Local candidates, send those questionnaires right back to the county GOP leadership — blank.
If they want to know how you feel on the issues, they can attend the upcoming candidate forums like the rest of us.
Unlike Glennie, Bluestem would be willing to understand a local party chosing to endorse local candidates--if it were done following something similar to the same process that legislative candidates have to follow: presenting a case to delegates at a convention. We wouldn't be happy about it, but such things do happen in the Cities.
But endorsement by an executive board about a month before a general election? Never heard of it. As Glennie says: "When did this elite group of conservatives think they could hijack the local elections?"
Photo: Eric Harpel, self appointed kKing of McLeod County.