Embattled Minn. GOP to choose new chairman Saturday

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Republican party officials plan to huddle on Saturday in Bloomington to pick a new chairman.

Among those seeking the post are: Former Edina legislator Keith Downey; owner of the online Independent Business News Network Don Allen; Carver County activist Bonn Clayton; and Seagate Technology engineer Bill Paulsen, MinnPost reported.

MinnPost reported recently that one thing the four candidates agreed on in a recent debate: The party is a mess.

Whoever takes the job will inherit an organization deep in debt and facing an uncertain future, MPR reported in a story about how independent groups have begun to do some of the work traditionally done by the party.

The Capitol Hill publication Roll Call recently probed the party's woes, which include historic losses last November: a 35-point blowout in a U.S. Senate race, the loss of a competitive U.S. House seat and control of both legislative chambers. Voters also shot down two GOP-backed constitutional amendments.

"It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the Republican Party of Minnesota hit rock bottom," Roll Call wrote. "It’s even more difficult to determine its path to recovery this cycle, if one even exists."

What needs fixing? Several hundred party activists gathered in January to talk that over, and MinnPost reported a to-do list emerged: Reach out to minorities, use social media more effectively, appeal to independent voters, improve campaign techniques, and bind together party factions.

Activists say the 2014 races offer the party big opportunities, including the governor's race, and the U.S. Senate race featuring Al Franken.

The secret to his party’s success depends on targeting the right races, outgoing chairman Pat Shortridge told Roll Call.

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