Urdahl to meet tonight with Republicans in Litchfield, Minn.
LITCHFIELD -- Rep. Dean Urdahl will address Meeker County Republican Party leaders when they meet this evening to discuss whether to yank the party's endorsement of him for his vote in favor of a new Vikings stadium.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. today at the Main Street Café in Litchfield.
Urdahl, R-Grove City, will tell those who gather that they are setting a very dangerous precedent by attempting to take away an endorsement over his vote. "If legislators are required to contact party leaders before every major vote, to make sure it is all right with them, it is a pretty pathetic way to make a decision,'' he said.
He will also tell them that he based his decision on three things: "my conscience, my constituents and my caucus.''
Urdahl considers those calling for the unusual action of taking away the endorsement a small minority in the party, and not representative of it.
He voiced frustration that he has voted consistently for conservative issues. "And you take one step off the path they think you should be on, and they attack.''
Senate District 18 Chairman Jim Bobier is seeking feedback from the district's Executive Committee before proceeding, according to an email sent earlier today.
If the group did decide to reconsider the endorsement, a majority of the Executive Committee members must verify the constitutionality of the action and vote to proceed, according to the email. The next step would be to hold a new endorsing convention by June 5.
News of the meeting has already garnered attention in the Capitol. Forum Communications Co. Capitol Bureau Chief Don Davis quoted House Republican Whip Rep. Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake as being surprised to hear there was a chance Urdahl would be un-endorsed.
"Rep. Urdahl is a class act," Hamilton said in the Capitol Monday, just before Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Vikings stadium construction bill.
With that bill, as well as others, Hamilton said that Urdahl researches every vote.
"Anything Rep. Urdahl does is well thought out," Hamilton said.
Hamilton, a GOP House leader, added that he did not know of other Republicans facing similar issues.