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Readers’ Views

Presenting the facts

To the Editor:

We have read several times that the Minnesota House District 23A Republican convention results have been misleading when being put forth to the public. As a participant during this convention, as well as multiple previous conventions, I also wish to address the idea that several precincts were not represented.

During caucuses, delegates are chosen and voted on by those present from all of the precincts. If these chosen delegates, who volunteer for the position, don’t show up at the convention, they are choosing not to fulfill their responsibilities that they volunteered to do. This is the delegates’ wrongdoing, not the party’s fault. This absenteeism has occurred at every district and state convention that I have attended. This, not showing up, is nothing new.

Now, about misleading results being proposed. During the district convention, the candidates spoke and present their positions. They have the opportunity to speak several times, depending upon how many rounds of voting occur.

After the first couple of rounds of voting, the two candidates took their turns in leading the vote. After two rounds of voting, and not receiving the majority of delegate votes in either round, Tom Nelson dropped out and endorsed Bjorn Olson. The two remaining candidates then spoke to those in attendance of the convention. Two more rounds of balloting commenced. Both of the rounds were won by Bjorn Olson, but neither pushed him to the required 60 percent.

A motion from the floor was made by a delegate whose last name was Sukalski to end the convention and to proceed with a no-endorsement decision from the convention. This motion was overwhelmingly voted against, 93 votes to 27 votes. It was very clear that the delegates were at the convention to choose a candidate for the party. In the past, some conversations have gone well past midnight.

Another round of voting commenced. This time the tide of voting continued its swing, even more heavily, with Bjorn receiving 59.8 percent of the vote. I have noticed, since my first involvement in 1988, that once a convention vote begins to swing in favor of a candidate, the tide has never reversed. Whether the computer program rounded up the 0.2 percent on the last ballot or not is not the issue. The delegates at the convention were siding more and more with the Bjorn camp with every vote and after each of the candidates spoke putting forward their ideas. If there would have been another vote, the tide of the delegates votes would most certainly put Mr. Olson over the 60 percent required, especially since Michael Sukalski lost 7 percent of the voting delegates from the previous voting round and 2 percent the round before.

As Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts.” Mr. Sukalski stated at the caucus in January that he would abide by the delegates’ decision. The delegates would have voted again and again, if needed, to come to a convention conclusion. Only due to a computer program rounding up a number by 0.2 percent and Mr. Sukalski going back on his word is this conversation happening.

Tim Hamp

Fairmont

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