Rep. Loon loses GOP endorsement, cites gay marriage vote

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Republican delegates in Eden Prairie declined to endorse Rep. Jenifer Loon, who was one of four House Republicans who voted in favor of same-sex marriage.

Loon told MPR News she knows her vote played a role in her endorsement, but she doesn't regret it.

“I respect the fact that it’s a very sensitive and can be a very divisive issue,” she told MPR. “I respect folks who disagree with my vote and I just think as we’re looking toward an election, there’s many other issues that we need to be keeping our eye on.”

Loon said she had no announced opponent in the race until Sheila Kihne, a Republican activist and outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, challenged Loon for the endorsement Saturday morning, according to Politics.MN.

Delegates decided not to endorse anyone for the 48B District race, which had the Minnesota Family Council claiming victory.

“Minnesotans sent a powerful message to politicians [Saturday] by refusing to endorse a Republican incumbent who is also part of the party’s leadership,” John Helmberger, CEO of Minnesota Family Council, said in a written statement to MPR. “Life, marriage, and religious freedom are values for which there is no compromise.”

Loon says she plans to run in the primary and looks forward to earning her party's support.

The other three Republicans who voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages were Reps. David FitzSimmons of Albertville, Pat Garofalo of Farmington and Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury. FitzSimmons lost his party's endorsement. Kieffer is not seeking re-election. Garofalo won party endorsement last month.

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