State legislative candidates selected for assistance by former senatorial candidate Pete Hegseth’s “Minnesota PAC” (MNPAC) slightly outperformed those selected by former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer’s “A Stronger Minnesota” on election night. Where all four of Emmer’s PAC selections fell short, two of Hegseth’s twelve candidates were able to claim victory. Yet for conservatives, there may have been a more concerning aspect to Hegseth’s choices.
In a September 10 e-mail to Minnesota Republican delegates announcing his MNPAC, Hegseth asked for money and time to help out six candidates he had chosen for the House and six for the Senate. For the House, it was Deb Kiel (1B), Carolyn McElfatrick (5B), Ben Wiener (11B), King Banaian (14B), Dan Kaiser (24B), and Russ Bertsch (42A). For the Senate, the candidates were Steve Nordhagen (SD1), John Pederson (SD14), Ben Kruse (SD36), Pam Wolf (SD37), Daivd Gaither (SD44) and Ted Lillie (SD53). The only two to win on Tuesday were Deb Kiel and John Pederson.
An October 4 e-mail to delegates from A Stronger Minnesota soon followed Hegseth’s with an announcement that Tom Emmer had joined the PAC. The group selected four candidates for the Minnesota House to assist. They were Chris Kellett (10A), Melissa Valeriano (25B), Andrew Reinhardt (36B), and Mandy Benz (37A). All four lost.
As many Republicans remember, Hegseth ran an intense campaign for the party’s 2012 senatorial nomination against Rep. Kurt Bills. Many establishment Republicans were supportive of Hegseth; the co-chair for Romney’s Minnesota campaign, Anne Neu, served as his campaign manager. One loud complaint those establishment folks made during the campaign was that they were afraid that neither conservative members of the party nor Ron Paul supporters would support Hegseth if he won the nomination.
One April 18 e-mail from Ms. Neu said that Ron Paul supporters were not supporting some (unspecified) legislative candidates. The e-mail stated, “This is not what the Republican Party is about,” and went to on to suggest that this description included Kurt Bills, saying, “It appears that Kurt Bills was hand-picked by the Ron Paul establishment to be the face of the movement in MN.”
After the party endorsed Kurt Bills in an endorsing convention that saw Hegseth come in third with fifteen percent of the vote, many in Hegseth’s camp refused to support Bills. In the Republican primary, Bills lost to a nameless candidate in the first and seventh congressional districts of Minnesota. He did, of course, win the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth.
There is more at the link, for any reader caring. Andy at Residual Forces was a Hegsether, and his posting likely gave Kurt Bills cold comfort, if any comfort at all.