by ADAM GRUENEWALD
A surprise retirement announcement by House Rep. Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayer, highlighted precinct caucuses in Carver County last Tuesday.
According to a press release, Leidiger plans to spend time with an expanding family and re-launch one of his business enterprises.
“It has been an incredible honor and pleasure to serve the hardworking people of Carver County,” Leidiger said. “I feel so fortunate to live in the best county in the state where folks are productive, passionate and give back because they truly care. My number one concern is to continue representing their needs and priorities until the very end of my term.”
Leidiger is a recognized advocate for limited government and the promotion of growth in the private sector to create jobs for a sustained and vibrant economy. He is confident the next state representative from District 47A will fulfill the same goals.
“I know someone will step up and do a wonderful job. I look forward to supporting their mission to preserve individual freedoms and free market opportunities,” Leidiger said. “For now, I will continue to represent the folks of Carver County to the best of my abilities.”
At GOP caucuses at Central High School, which were attended by about 40 people, NYA resident Bob Frey announced his candidacy for the position. Frey also thanked Rep. Leidiger for his efforts.
“I think he’s going to be used greatly wherever he goes,” said Frey. “He’s a great man and he’s done well for Minnesota.”
Frey added that he hopes to continue Leidiger’s work.
“We share the same values and fight for the same causes and I applaud him for that,” he said. “I wouldn’t be running against him for sure, because he’s what Minnesota needs in there. I think I can follow in his footsteps… I really appreciate his dedication and tireless efforts for what he did down in the Capitol and what he did for this community. He’s gone above and beyond.”
Carver County Commissioner and NYA resident Jim Ische said Leidiger’s announcement came as a shock.
“I was surprised,” he said. “I didn’t expect that really. I think he’s got some other plans and I wish him well.”
Ische added he intends to remain focused on local issues.
“As far as local issues, transportation is a real big push for me,” he said, focusing on acquiring funds for Highway 212 expansion. “I work on that every chance I can.”
In addition to announcements, straw polls were also taken for governor, U.S. Senate and County District 6. Results for Republicans statewide were similar to local results.
For governor, Carver County Republicans voted highly in favor of Dave Thompson, who won 147 votes, or 45 percent. Thompson finished second to Marty Seifert statewide, 28 percent to 26 percent. Seifert took 43 votes, or 13 percent, in Carver County.
For the U.S. Senate, Julianne Ortman won 156 votes, or 63 percent, and she won 31 percent of the vote statewide.
Tom Emmer commanded the District 6 vote, garnering 148 votes, or 95 percent.
Carver County Republican Chair Vince Beaudette said caucus night was busy, despite low attendance.
“Attendance across the county and state not what we hoped it would be,” he said.
Beaudette added he was pleased the caucuses in that it gave people an opportunity to address issues.
“As always few spats among people and certain caucuses… some people go to caucuses for their own game,” he said. “Overall things worked the way they were supposed to work.”
In terms of resolutions, those having to do with Common Core and judicial reform were passed along, while election results showed Thompson’s push into Carver County.
“It was a very surprising showing by Dave Thompson which was not consistent with what happened statewide,” said Beaudette. “He did a very good job in Carver County.”
Beaudette added he was surprised at Leidiger’s announcement, saying he would have been a “shoo in to get the nomination and to get re-elected.”
The Carver County Convention will be held on March 1 at Mayer Lutheran High School with registration at 8 a.m. and the gavel dropping at 9 a.m.
Democrats across the state didn’t conduct straw polls, but District 47 DFL Chairman Richard Donnay still said he was disappointed at low turnouts for the caucus.
“Overall though, the attendance was very enthusiastic,” he said. “There were numerous lively conversations about resolutions on various issues.”
Resolutions ranged from payroll tax, Citizens United problems, power of the Super PACs and corporations of anonymous funding.
“The resolutions were quite varied throughout the district,” he said.
In addition to involving citizens on party issues, Donnay added that delegates were selected for the county convention on Saturday, March 15 at 9 a.m. at Victoria City Hall, located at 7951 Rose Street.
“We received numerous volunteers and delegates and committee signups,” he said. “Otherwise very low turnout with no campaign or candidate issues.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]
Full Caucus Results (http://www.carvergop.org/)
Statewide Caucus Results
Governor – Marty Seifert 28 percent, Dave Thompson 26 percent, Jeff Johnson 17 percent, Scott Honour 9 percent, Kurt Zellers 8 percent, Rob Farnsworth 2 percent
U.S. Senate – Julianne Ortman 31 percent, Mike McFadden 23 percent, Jim Abeler 15 percent, Chris Dahlberg 10 percent, Harold Schudlick 3 percent, Monti Moreno 2 percent
District 6 – Tom Emmer 148, Phil Krinkie 7, Rhonda Sivarajah 1, Undecided 3
NYA TOTALS – Thompson 17, Seifert 11, Johnson 3, Zellers 2, Undecided 1; Dahlberg 19, Ortman 9, McFadden 3, Abeler 2
NYA – Seifert 10, Thompson 5, Johnson 3, Zellers 1; Dahlberg 8, Ortman 7, McFadden 2, Abeler 1
Young America Twnship – Thompson 4; Dahlberg 4
Cologne – Thompson 2, Ortman 2
Hancock – (No voters)
Hamburg – Seifert 1, Undecided 1; Abeler 1, Dahlberg 1
Benton – Thompson 6, Zellers 1; Dahlberg 6, McFadden 1
Watertown Totals – Johnson 6, Zellers 6, Thompson 31, Honour 6, Seifert 3; Ortman 42, Dahlberg 11, McFadden 2, Undecided 1
Waconia Totals – Johnson 7, Zellers 9, Thompson 33, Seifert 9, Undecided 8; Abeler 4, Ortman 44, Dahlberg 16, Mike McFadden 1, Moreno 1, Undecided 5