The first Republican conventions were held on Saturday, February 15 this year. In Minnesota, everything starts with the precinct caucuses They were held on Tuesday, February 4, with both parties participating that night. After that, there are 3 rounds of conventions, starting with the BPOU conventions. BPOU stands for Basic Party Organizing Unit.
The Benton County Republican Convention was held in Sauk Rapids on Saturday. At Saturday's convention, delegates were picked to represent the Benton County Republicans at the congressional district convention and the state convention.
With this being one of two GOP conventions in the state today, virtually every top-tier statewide candidate was in Sauk Rapids for the convention. That meant GOP gubernatorial candidates Dave Thompson, Jeff Johnson, Marty Seifert and Rob Farnsworth. It meant U.S. Senate candidates Mike McFadden, Julianne Ortman, Jim Abeler and Monti Moreno.
What was interesting is that Tom Emmer and Phil Krinkie were the only congressional candidates to appear. Rhonda Sivarajah didn't attend Saturday's convention, leading activists to speculate why she didn't attend.
This was the first convention picking delegates to the CD-6 Convention, aka the Sixth Congressional District Convention. The primary business of the CD-6 Convention is to endorse a candidate who will replace retiring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in the U.S. House.
The vast majority of the delegates picked for the CD-6 Convention were committed to Tom Emmer. In that respect, Saturday's convention represented the perfect start for the Emmer campaign.
The other story of the day was how happy the activists were with the candidates, whether they were talking about the gubernatorial candidates, the Senate candidates or the congressional candidates. That's a positive for the GOP because, in the past, activists supported candidates that they weren't exactly thrilled with.
It doesn't appear that that will happen this time. Whether activists identified with the Liberty Caucus or the business community, the activists really liked their options.