GOP Races Are Heating up Just in Time for Summer

Republican activists across the state will have their hands full this coming summer. With every Senate and House seat up for re-election, several congressional campaigns ensuing, and a presidential campaign rolling through the state, the stakes are high as Republicans will try to keep control of the House while trying to win the Senate.

Last week saw another round of senate district conventions endorsing old and new candidates, pushing several of the campaigns around the state forward.

Rep. Lucero
Rep. Lucero

Representative Eric Lucero (R – Albertville, St. Michael) received 86% of the vote in his district’s endorsement convention. Lucero, a first-term Representative, has already been successful in the House with pro-second amendment and pro-life legislation being passed last year.

Lucero said he was “humbled and honored to win the Republican endorsement,” but that he also plans to continue to fight to correct educational inequality funding gaps and for more funding for roads and bridges.

In Senate District 1 Representative Dan Fabian (R – Rosseau), a former teacher who has spent the last 3 cycles in office, and Representative Deb Kiel (R – Crookston) who has also spent the last three cycles in office, welcomed endorsements for their House seats as well.

In the same district, Mark Johnson received the Senate nomination.  Running on traditional Republican principles such as the Second Amendment and fiscal responsibility, Johnson also speaks to property rights and promotion of business while giving the District an opportunity to have a Republican in office. Johnson will have a great opportunity this election cycle as  Senator LeRoy Stumpf (D-Plummer) announced in February that he would retire after 36 years of elected service.

In Senate District 2, while Representative Steve Green (R-Fosston) of 2B received the endorsement from delegates, Republicans chose Matt Grossell to fill the House seat that will be vacated by Representative Dave Hancock of 2A (R-Bemidji), who has spent two terms in the House.

Matt Grossell (HD2A), Steve Green (HD2B) and Paul Utke (SD2).
Matt Grossell (HD2A), Steve Green (HD2B) and Paul Utke (SD2).

Grossell, a veteran and former Deputy Sheriff for Clearwater County, was endorsed with a 100% vote of the delegation. Grossell told the Bemidji Pioneer that he was wired to serve and he wanted to work alongside with lawmakers in St. Paul.  Paul Utke, a Park Rapids City Council member and current chair of the Hubbard County GOP won the endorsement for Minnesota Senate. Utke’s main issues include fixing a lagging economy and low household income, which, he believes has had a negative effect on the local economy.

Utke faces a steep race as he runs against long-time incumbent Senator Rod Skoe (D-Clearbrook). Senator Skoe has held his Senate seat since 2003 and is Chair of the Taxes Committee.

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