Here's the update. One of those legislators -- Sen. Satveer Chaudhary -- said he received a letter, pieced together from the ad, that said, "You didn't vote 63 times last session. What the hell are you doing? Eating curry?" He says it included a photo of Chaudhary with a bullet hold drawn on the forehead.
Capitol Security, the State Patrol and the Fridley Police Department are investigating.
Doug at Bogus Gold has an account of the convention endorsing Chaudhary's opponent.
After all the necessary formalities, we were left with the endorsement decision. Both candidates addressed the delegates. To say that neither wowed us would be a vast understatement. One demonstrated almost no public speaking ability at all. He nervously fidgeted while speaking in a high voice at rapid speed and ran out of things to say after about 30 seconds. The next gave a frankly goofy and patronizing address to the delegates, choosing a Romper-room style "give yourselves applause" gimmick that went flat from the start, but was beaten to death regardless.
Unnecessarily, I think, the delegates were afterward thrown into a state of existential ennui. If anyone else had been announced as a nominee afterward and declined to speak a word I think they would have won almost unanimous support in the subsequent endorsing ballot. However this was not only not possible by rule, it was extremely unlikely period. Running as A Republican in this Senate District is hardly a hot ticket.
But when all was said and done, in my opinion, you had two candidates who were both acceptable in terms of party ideology. Only one of them showed any public speaking ability, even if the speech offered just now was poor. To me the choice was clear. I voted to endorse the better rookie candidate and waited to hear the results.
The first ballot came back a bit later with 48% of the delegates voting to endorse the candidate I had voted for, 13% voting for the other candiate, and the remainder declining to vote for either. With 60% needed for an endorsement, this meant we would need to go to a second ballot.
The candidate who received the least votes immediately dropped from the race and encouraged the delegates to endorse his rival so that we'd emerge with an endorsed candidate. Doing the math (48% + 13% = 61%) I figured this was the end of it. We went to a second ballot and I settled in to listen to Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau give an alternately rambling, charming, and boring speech (it was only at the very end when she talked about her grandchildren that it became charming).
The results came back. Barely over 50% had voted to endorse the only nominee left standing. The rest voted not to endorse. This was the moment I started to pace - mentally at first, physically before all was finished. The choice was no longer whom to endorse, but whether to endorse our only candidate. She'd given one speech to us, and it was admittedly bad. But it's not as if there were some White Knight waiting in the wings to swoop in and announce a candidacy. Much talk was made about the possibility of a primary or maybe a second endorsement convention later on. This was utterly stupid. The only certain choice before us was whether we'd support the only Republican left standing before us or not.
Then the period we'll call the "hashing out" began. Roberts Rules of Order were strained. A few prima donnas preened. Some cantankerous and colorful characters presented themselves as well. And this went on and on. This was the point where I most appreciated Bev Aplikowski somehow managing to steer things back into a form we could at least vote upon at moments where this seemed lost.
I did get to see one of the Boots On guys plug their blog. I wanted to get a chance to go over and introduce myself, but there simply wasn't time. As this dragged on I started fielding phonecalls from my (almost) six year old son about when I'd be home to take him to his school carnival (something I'd promised weeks before this convention date was scheduled). There was an invitation for any other bloggers in attendence to plug themselves, but I decided to pass and just focus on getting this thing over as soon as possible.
Finally, we voted one more time. And (after ever more desperately thin filler banter) the results came back and we had barely managed to reach 60% agreement to endorse our candidate.
Sen Don Betzold's opponent doesn't sound much stronger than this.