One of the main orders of business is election of the MNGOP's chair. Incumbent Keith Downey is seeking a second term and will be opposed by Bill Jungbauer (former chair of the Congressional District 2 Republicans) and late entrant Neil Lynch, who is currently chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus Minnesota.
Given that Jungbauer was a favorite of the tea party/libertarian Republicans, a lot of folks speculated that Lynch's entrance in the race will only serve to split that constituency, thus favoring Downey for reelection. On Thursday afternoon, Lynch chose to respond to that assertion.
There is a persistent question that keeps coming up in my discussions with potential voters, and I'd like to address this matter directly:
Two of the candidates in this race are considered part of the "liberty" movement in Minnesota. There's a concern that we will split the "liberty" vote, which would guarantee that the third candidate wins.
I could get into a nerdy discussion about the size of the "liberty" SCC delegation and the math of a 3-way race where a 50% +1 majority is required to win, but I'll just say this...
I have a track record of building strong, positive relationships with all segments of the party, not just within a particular wing, and not just when it's convenient to win an election. In fact, some of my strongest supporters are people who are not considered part of the "liberty" movement.
So, rather than obsess over the straw man argument of "splitting the vote" of a particular group, I choose to gain support from all segments of the party.
I know Neil personally and thus can vouch for what he said regarding his "track record of building strong, positive relationships with all segments of the party." In 2012, Neil was an unabashed supporter of Ron Paul for President. When running for (and eventually elected as) delegate to the Republican National Convention, Neil was forthright about this. But once it was settled that Paul would not be the GOP presidential candidate, Neil vowed to coalesce behind nominee Mitt Romney. While some Paul supporters chose to suck their thumbs and sit out the election, Neil went to work in an effort to get Romney elected.
Since I'm not a delegate, I really haven't given serious consideration to whom I'd like to see elected as state party chair. All I know is that whomever is elected will still have the challenging tasks of a) continuing to alleviate the party's approximately $1.3 million debt and b) helping Republicans win more elections. If any of the three candidates is willing to take on those seemingly daunting prospects, they have my tremendous respect as well as perhaps a little sympathy.