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Candidates make pitch for endorsement to 7th district delegates

WILLMAR -- Delegates at the 7th District Republican Convention Saturday in Willmar heard from a string of candidates who will be seeking Republican endorsement at the state convention in June, including Mark Kennedy, John Uldrich and Harold Shudlick, who are all vying for the Mark Dayton's seat in the U.S. Senate.

Kennedy was the obvious favorite among the 7th district delegates and office holders, like Sen. Norm Coleman, who spoke glowingly of him.

"I'm the other candidate," Shudlick deadpanned.

He challenged the delegates to not accept the decision of the "powers that be" who made Kennedy "the appointed one" for the endorsement. He said Kennedy wasn't able to get anything done in the House of Representatives and is pulling a "cut and run" from that position to move to the Senate.

"I won't go to Washington, D.C. to be an empty suit," said Shudlick, a retired minister and Vietnam veteran. "Are you with me?" he asked the delegates, who responded with an uncomfortable silence.

Kennedy, anticipating that he would get the Republican endorsement and go head-to-head with DFLer Amy Klobuchar, said "it's going to be a tight race."

Another underdog who made a pitch for the delegates attention was Bruce Kennedy, who is seeking endorsement for Secretary of State, along with incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer.

Bruce Kennedy (no relation to Mark Kennedy) said he is "not a true blue Republican," agrees with Democrats sometimes and Republicans other times and admitted "I don't know who I am" when it comes to political sides.

He said being neutral is a "virtue" for being Secretary of State.

He asked how Republicans would feel if former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, who "ridiculed Republicans in the press," was Secretary of State and in charge of running elections. "That's how the Democrats feel about Mary Kiffmeyer," said Kennedy.

"That's their problem," grumbled one delegate at the back of the room.

Kiffmeyer, Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, Auditor Pat Anderson, Sen. Norm Coleman, Scott Newman, who is a candidate for First District Judge and Jeff Johnson, who is seeking endorsement for attorney general, also addressed the delegates.

"This will be a Republican year in Minnesota," said Molnau.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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