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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Glenn Gruenhagen's Wife Comments on the SD 25 Race

From the Man Not in the Arena Awards post on the Drama Queen's site.

# Emily Says:
January 5th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

To Mberg:
These are the facts about the endorsement. Seven days before the endorsement convention held on Dec. 5th I got a phone call from a conservative friend that there was an open seat in SD25.

Since I am BPOU chairwoman for one of the 4 counties in this district this friend asked if I knew anyone who would be a good candidate (I was not notified by the state party until they contacted me for my Sibley County delegate lists 6 days before the convention). This friend told me that Ray Cox had already formed a committee and had announced his plan to run. I found this odd since it had just been announced on the radio the night before that Tom Neuville had been appointed to a judicial seat. Cox obviously had already been notified well in advance that this was to happen. It appeared he was the “annointed” candidate, for what ever reason. Maybe it was his name recognition or location (since he lives in Northfield), but at any rate there was not any real delegate input nor was there much time for anyone else to challenge him.

With the urging of a few conservative friends and leaders in the party, my husband Glenn Gruenhagen, decided to consider challenging Ray. We spent a couple of days researching his voting record and the more we studied it the more concerned we became. Ray has a career record with the LEA of about 33%, Taxpayers League at 26%, Minnesota Family Council at 50%. He clearly does not support many important planks in the Republican platform and Glenn felt compelled to hold him accountable by challenging him.

The day before the endorsement we officially decided to go for it. We knew we were at a disadvantage because we live in the least populated North West portion of the district but also knew we could not allow Ray to go unchallenged. This did not give us much time to contact delegates and in addition, the delegate lists that I got from the state party did not include phone numbers for the delegates.

In the end Glenn got 15 of the 47 delegate votes and we felt it was worth it to raise our concerns and give the delegates a choice.

Keep in mind that this all took place over the busy holidays and we run our own business. It was difficult to find time or energy to help out with the Cox campaign. It is even more difficult to do so when you feel less-than-excited about the candidate. I have tried to express this to Chairman Carey and other party leaders in the past. We need good platform candidates to run in order to really energize volunteers to work. Nevertheless, Glenn and I made lots of phone calls and put up signs for Ray (for both the primary and the election). I also went door to door on the day of the election trying to get folks to the polls.

All in all, I agree with Drew; we were outflanked and outsmarted and we need to learn our lessons or we will continue to be in the minority. We also need to run real platform Republicans and hold our legislators accountable. This idea that a candidate needs to “fit the district” is hogwash. Real leaders stand on principle. They are persuasive and know how to bring others on board by educating them in the principloes that made our nation great.

The one time I saw Gruenhagen was when Michele Bachmann spoke in Hutchinson. Gruenhagen asked Bachmann a question about "gay bowel syndrome" in that public forum.