It took nearly nine hours and seven rounds of voting in the contest for a GOP before delegates at the Minnesota Republican Party convention called it a night.
But they're not done.
A recess was called around 2 a.m., the Pioneer Press reports, after none of the candidates managed to collect the 60 percent of votes necessary to earn the party's endorsement – despite it having been whittled down to just two candidates for the last two rounds of voting.
Yes the eighth round will begin at the Rochester Civic Center at 9 a.m. Saturday, with St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg and investment banker Mike McFadden – who came up short in rounds six and seven – each looking to secure more votes. According to the Star Tribune, Dahlberg had the edge in the night's final round, with 54 percent of the vote; McFadden was right behind at 44.1 percent.
The winner will likely be sent forward to oust Democratic Sen. Al Franken come this fall's elections.
As MPR reports, Dahlberg was not considered the favorite, with McFadden and state Sen. Julie Ortman, R-Chanhassen, often considered frontrunners. But the commissioner managed to stay out in front the entire night – just not quite far enough.
The six candidates originally on the ballot – Dahlberg, McFadden, Ortman, Jim Abeler, Phillip Parrish and Monti Moreno – quickly got chopped in half. Abeler and Moreno were out after two rounds; Parrish left after the third ballot. Ortman picked up a few votes heading into the fourth, but then fell below the elimination threshold in the fifth go-round and was out.
There were also reports that Ortman's campaign manager was removed from the floor after he reportedly slapped a delegate.
Dahlberg, MPR notes, has just $39,000 in his coffers. McFadden meanwhile has raised $1.8 million – and he's pledged to run in the August primary even if he doesn't receive the convention nomination.
The delegates have another big contest to settle Saturday too: the gubernatorial candidate.
Six Republicans are planning to take on Gov. Mark Dayton – Rob Farnsworth, Scott Honour, Jeff Johnson Marty Siefert, Sen. Dave Thompson and Rep. Kurt Zellers. The Star Tribune says Johnson (a former Hennepin County commissioner), Siefert (a former state representative) and Thompson are seeking the endorsement. Honour and Zellers are not, and will simply head to the primary.
The delegates did settle on a few things Friday though.
Delegates have chosen Randy Gilbert to run for state auditor, and State Sen. Scott Newman for State Attorney General.
Randy Gilbert, former mayor of Long Lake, promised supporters he would never allow a campaign contribution to stand between the office and the people of Minnesota, MPR reports. Gilbert criticized current State Auditor Rebecca Otto for taking contributions from unions, her stance on mining. He also questioned why Otto hasn’t investigated MNsure, the state’s insurance exchange.
Newman, a Minnesota State Senator from Hutchinson, will take on two-term DFL incumbent Attorney General Lori Swanson. The Star Tribune reports Newman noted that a Republican has not held the office since 1966.