MN delegation at center of rule change ruckus at Republican convention


National leaders of the Republican party turned back an effort by some states to change the rules of their convention to let more delegates support candidates other than Donald Trump.

National Public Radio reports anti-Trump delegates pushing for the change briefly seemed have forced a state-by-state roll call vote on whether to change the rules Monday.

But party leaders then announced that three of the nine delegations had changed their mind and withdrawn their support for a roll call, allowing the standard party rules to be approved on a voice vote.

It led to a chaotic few minutes, during which delegates chanting "Roll Call Vote" were eventually shouted down by others yelling "U-S-A."

Video from CSPAN showed the drama unfold (particularly about 4 minutes in).

Minnesota reportedly among those who switched

Minnesota's delegates – a majority of whom are committed to supporting Marco Rubio on the first ballot – were among those who initially backed a roll call vote on changing the rules.

Delegate Marty Seifert, a former state legislator, told the Star Tribune: "I'm for transparency and openness and accountability. When I was minority leader, I probably asked for a thousand roll call votes because I believed in accountability, transparency."

The Star Tribune says during the period of confusion on the convention floor, party leaders engaged in some last minute arm twisting to convince some delegations to withdraw their support for a roll call. A source tells the newspaper that Minnesota was one of the three delegations that did so.

PBS NewsHour reported that in addition to Minnesota, Iowa and the District of Columbia also changed their minds.

A plea for unity in the nosebleed seats

Perhaps its support for Rubio rather than Trump is one reason the Minnesota delegation is seated about as far away from the convention microphone as possible, the Pioneer Press reports.

More than 60 people are scheduled to speak during the convention but none of them is from Minnesota.

Despite the opening day drama over rules, Minnesota Republicans expect the party will come together during the course of the convention.

Seifert told the Pioneer Press Monday's hurt feelings will pass, saying “It’s like any convention: You have some dust-ups, some hiccups.”

Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey told WCCO: “It’s incumbent on our candidate and party leaders, and all the delegates here, to find a way to come together in 2016 — even for those who did not support Donald Trump and have question marks."

Downey said the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency will be one of the strongest motivations for Republicans to come together.

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