Friday, May 23, 2014

Proper perspective

After hitting rock bottom about 2-1/2 years ago, the Minnesota Republican Party is slowly but surely making strides to being a major factor once again. Since 2002 when Tim Pawlenty and Norm Coleman were elected as Governor and US Senator respectively, MNGOP candidates have won exactly one statewide race (Pawlenty being reelected by the skin of his teeth in 2006) since.

There are certainly multiple reasons for the recent slump in election victories, not the least of which being the state party was not as valuable a resource given its financial woes. While the MNGOP has slowly worked its way out of debt, it is most desirous that the process be expedited. Hence the press release put out by the party on Thursday.

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Keith Downey announced the appointment of Pete Hegseth as the Party’s new Finance Chair.

“We are excited to have Pete join us and bring his ideas to help grow the Party,” said Downey. “As a decorated veteran and leader of a national veterans organization, Pete is someone all Minnesotans can be proud of. We are very glad he answered our call to serve in this capacity.”

With the party’s State Convention just two weeks away and an election in November, Hegseth will be focused on helping fund the campaign season and building the organization for the future.

“As Finance Chair I look forward to helping the Republican Party of Minnesota reach the next level,” said Hegseth. “I’m heartened by the tremendous progress the Party has made under Keith’s leadership, and am humbled by his invitation to join the team. The people of Minnesota deserve a strong, effective, and viable Republican Party, and I look forward to doing my part to make that happen.”

Hegseth has a history of helping organizations develop their infrastructure and grow their finances. As the executive director of Vets For Freedom, he expanded that non-profit budget from zero to $9 million. And as the leader of the nation’s largest conservative veterans organization, Hegseth is a leading voice for veterans and military families. He is also a regular veterans and military contributor on Fox News Channel.

I purposefully emphasized those initial two sentences in the final paragraph for obvious reasons. If an entity is looking to get out of debt, it's stands to reason that said entity would appoint someone who is a proficient and effective fundraiser.

Unfortunately, certain right-of-center factions chose to focus on Hegseth's ideology (hawkish when it comes to national defense, something which irks the "WIBERTY!" crowd) as opposed to his fundraising prowess. The fact of the matter is that the ideology of state party officials is largely irrelevant. It is the citizens of the state of Minnesota (whether it's GOP activists endorsing candidates at the local/state level or nominating them through primary elections) who determine which Republican candidates will be the nominees to run for elected office. From there, the MNGOP merely acts as a conduit for said candidates' message. I daresay that there have been candidates in the past whose ideologies have slightly differed from that of some state party executives. Regardless, that didn't preclude officials from providing the support needed to get Republicans elected.

With all that in mind, Hegseth's appointment is not only a solid move but seemingly a no-brainer given his experience as well as big-time connections. I, for one, applaud this appointment.

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