In a rare show of public discontent, some of the leaders of the McLeod County Republican Party showed their displeasure with U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and indicated to district and state party officials that they might not campaign for Coleman if he is endorsed for re-election this year.
In response, Eric Haapala, chairman of the 7th District Republicans, shot back stating it was the duty of the Republican leadership, even at the county level, to bury personal feelings and back Republican candidates.
The issue boiled to the surface Saturday morning at the McLeod County Republican Convention in Silver Lake. When the heated discussion was over, neither side yielded. No endorsement vote came up.
The battle line was drawn over Coleman's voting record in the U.S. Senate that angered five of the eight county Republican executive board members enough to sign a letter sent to Coleman Oct. 12, 2007.
"Your voting record is disappointing to say the least," the letter stated. "Reviewing some of your votes within the last month, we wonder if you have forgotten that you are a Republican and not a Democrat."
The letter stated Coleman's support of the "Dream Act," which allows illegal immigrants access to federal money for student loans and gives a fast-track to citizenship to millions "is a sellout to millions of taxpayers in the United States who will have to pay for 'lawbreakers' to go to school" and will bring millions more of illegals into the country.
Also, the local GOPers were critical of Coleman's support for a "hate crimes bill," that will enhance punishment for crimes against homosexuals and transgender people.
"Why do you feel that a homosexual or a transgender person should be given special treatment? All crimes are hate crimes," the letter stated.
What's interesting is that the Seifert, Carey and Dorothy Fleming are pushing to punish independent thinking legislators - but are giving a pass to Senator Coleman.