GOP Convention 31 May 14

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — After elaborate videos, sharp-toned speeches and even indoor fireworks, Minnesota Republicans are voting to back a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Half a dozen candidates vied Friday for the GOP endorsement at the state convention, with the winner likely having to overcome an August primary challenge to face Democratic Senator Al Franken in November.

Delegates heard calls to gut the nation’s new health law, trim spending and dump a set of education standards conservatives loathe.

State Representative Jim Abeler, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, businessman Mike McFadden, farmer Monte Moreno, state Senator Julianne Ortman and retired naval officer Phillip Parrish were seeking the nod. Abeler and McFadden could opt to run in an August primary without the endorsement. The rest say they’ll drop out if the party endorses someone else.

A former legislator is the Minnesota Republican Party’s choice for an open secretary of state’s race.

Ex-Representative Dan Severson grabbed the GOP endorsement Friday at the state party convention after another former lawmaker exited the race.

State Senator John Howe withdrew before the first ballot was announced.

Incumbent Secretary of State Mark Ritchie isn’t running again. Democrats expect to settle on a candidate Saturday at the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention in Duluth in a race that features two sitting legislators.

Severson argues that Minnesota has a “corrupt election system” and told delegates it is “time for a conservative secretary of state.”

The secretary of state’s office has been pivotal in recent elections. It has overseen back-to-back recounts in races for U.S. Senate and governor. The office also has business registration duties.