MN lawmaker Kurt Daudt supporting Scott Walker's presidential bid

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Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt is joining the efforts of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in his run for the White House.

Daudt, a Republican from Crown, will serve as the Walker campaign's Minnesota campaign chair, according to a news release.

Essentially, that means Daudt will publicly tout Walker, while helping organize support for the governor throughout Minnesota.

"In Minnesota, we've seen how our neighbor, Wisconsin, has been able to turn around under the strong leadership of Gov. Walker," the 41-year-old Daudt said in the release, adding Walker "stood up for the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin, stood against the entrenched special interests, and survived a historic recall election. I believe he has proven his readiness to lead our great country."

According to the Star Tribune, Daudt said Thursday night (while watching the Republican debate) that he was initially going back and forth between supporting Walker or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. But a phone call from the Wisconsin governor last week swayed him.

"Minnesota will play an important role in choosing the eventual Republican nominee, and together, Speaker Daudt and I will work to spread our message of big, bold reform throughout the state," Walker said in the news release.

Minnesota's presidential caucuses are March 1, MinnPost says, and fall on "Super Tuesday" when eight other states also hold their primaries or caucuses.

Daudt is in his third term as a state representative after winning re-election in 2014, and as House Speaker is Minnesota's highest-ranking Republican.

Walker in the Republican debate

Walker of course was in the headlines Thursday night for another reason: he was one of 10 Republican candidates on stage in Cleveland to take part in the first GOP debate.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said he was "not a central figure" for a lot of the debate, which went on for two hours. But when he got the chance, he painted himself as a normal person with a family and a motorcycle, and reiterated his stance against abortion.

Walker got about six minutes of speaking time, the paper says.

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The Associated Press notes he was the first candidate to bring up Hillary Clinton's email scandal.

CNN analyst Buck Sexton called his performance "just OK," while Maria Cardona described it as "flat."

Tom Rogan told CNN he thought Walker was the winner, though.

"Walker received a tough question on Wisconsin's economy but responded confidently. He was also impressive on foreign policy -- an area where he's previously been considered weak," Rogan said.

Walker did catch some flak on Twitter for seemingly pretending to hold up a fetus during the debate.

Here's Politifact's look at fact-checking the Republican debate.

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