GOP party chair contender arrested, ticketed for expired tabs

MSP airport police arrested and cited businessman Brandon Sawalich, listing the original charge as a gross misdemeanor for "intent to escape" the motor vehicle tax. But MPR reports authorities won't be pursuing that charge.
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MSP airport police arrested and cited businessman Brandon Sawalich, listing the original charge as a gross misdemeanor for "intent to escape" the motor vehicle tax. But MPR reports authorities won't be pursuing that charge.

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Former GOP chair on party debt: "Worth it"

Just hours after Republican officials declared the party $2 million in debt, former party leader Tony Sutton released a statement on his Facebook page saying the numbers reflect a hard fought election and campaign cycle, but that Minnesota is better off because of it.

GOP faithful elect Shortridge as party chair

Pat Shortridge won the Minnesota GOP party chair election on the first ballot. He was up against Terry McCall and Todd McIntyre. He takes over for former chair Tony Sutton who recently resigned.

Former state GOP chair won't face charges, prosecutor says

St. Paul City Attorney Sarah Grewing said Friday that she won't pursue criminal charges against former Minnesota Republican Party chairman Tony Sutton for fundraising irregularities. The matter has already led to fines against Sutton and the GOP. Gerwig wrote in a letter to The Associated Press that it would be hard to prove Sutton was willfully violating a state law.

Starkey exec runs for Minnesota GOP chairman

Brandon Sawalich, a vice president at Starkey Hearing Technologies who ran unsuccessfully for the post in 2009, says he has a business background that should please party delegates. But MPR raises the question of whether grass-roots activists committed to some key conservative values will rally around him.

Sen. Warren Limmer won't run for GOP party chair

Republican activists will meet Saturday to pick a state party leader to replace Tony Sutton, who resigned earlier this month. Limmer's announcement that he'll withdraw leaves three others in the race: GOP operative Pat Shortridge, Second Congressional District GOP chair Terry McCall and Todd McIntyre.

GOP presidential contenders target Perry in Florida debate

Bachmann's support has been slipping since winning the Iowa Straw Poll last month. A national Gallup poll released earlier this week shows Rick Perry holds 31 percent of the Republican vote while Bachmann only pulled 5 percent.

Minn. DFL chair Ken Martin predicts unity at weekend's state convention

Following the beating the DFL took in the 2010 Minnesota legislative races, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin predicts Democrats will approach this weekend's state convention in Rochester with a sense of unity -- a feeling opposite of what Republicans felt at their recent state convention in St. Cloud. "When you lose, it brings people back together," Martin tells MinnPost.

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Interim Republican chair Kelly Fenton is gaining support from party activists who want her to remain the GOP leader into 2012. Fenton replaced former chairman Tony Sutton after his resignation in December. Party officials will convene at the end of the month to name a permanent party leader.