SHAKOPEE, Minn. – State Rep. Bob Loonan (R-Shakopee) will continue to seek re-election, despite failing to be endorsed by local Republicans.
Last month, Scott County Republicans endorsed Erik Mortensen over incumbent Loonan for Minnesota House District 55. Mortensen, a local business owner, won over 70 percent of the Republican delegate support.
Mortensen ran on defending conservative principles like individual freedom, and emphasized the need for politicians to keep their promises, a message that resonated with local Republicans.
Despite not receiving the endorsement of the Republican delegates, Loonan launched a primary challenge against Mortensen on Wednesday.
In an open letter published by Shakopee Valley News, Loonan took a swipe at the delegates that did not endorse him, saying the local Republican leadership was “not comfortable with the low control” they have over him. Loonan contends local activists should not have the final say and wants to bring the issue to a larger group of Shakopee Republicans in August.
“While I am always open to opinions and suggestions I make decisions in the best interest of our community, not these select few individuals,” Loonan wrote. “No doubt these individuals do not want me to run in the primary, but once again I must defy these few.”
Scott County GOP Chairman Joe Ditto said local Republicans are “disappointed” by Loonan’s decision to challenge Mortensen in the primary election, and rejected Loonan’s attempts to paint the delegates as a group of insiders with an agenda.
“We are disappointed in his decision,” Ditto told Alpha News. “The delegates were just recently elected by their neighbors at the caucus in February. He makes it sound like the delegates are some sort of elite group of insiders, but they are just a bunch of folks that live in his district that were elected to represent them at the convention by their neighbors. And they overwhelmingly rejected Loonan.”
“I think that a lot of the folks, with his voting record, were feeling like he wasn’t representing them,” Ditto added.
Loonan will face Mortensen in the primary election on August 14.