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Brown County Republicans focus on state races

NEW ULM — With presidential preference off the table, the Brown County Republican Precinct Caucus in New Ulm focused on state-wide and legislative races Tuesday.

The 45 participants at the New Ulm Event Center heard letters from candidates for U.S. Senate and First District U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, asking for their support in the election ahead.

State Sen. Gary Dahms’s letter announced he would be seeking re-election in District 16, as did Rep. Paul Torkelson in 16B.

The common theme in the candidate letters was the danger of electing Democrats.

Dahms said DFLers have passed bills that “have not been in the best interest of rural Minnesota.” He added, “Their liberal views and liberal legislation are having a major impact on individual freedoms, social issues and conservative values.”

Torkelson said the current legislative session is only two weeks old, “and we are already witnessing the DFL’s effort to grow government through more programs and more spending. House democrats are on a path to repass their filed agenda from last year, including gun bills, mandated family leave and an extra-large bonding bill.”

Hagedorn and Senate candidate Jason Lewis lined themselves up with Donald Trump and his policies. Hagedorn wrote proudly of opposing the “partisan and divisive impeachment” and said Republicans are getting America moving in the right direction, “rebuilding the Arsenal of Democracy, projecting U.S. values around the world, and working hard to secure America’s borders.”

Lewis said he was working throughout the state for every vote, hoping to become the first Republican since 2002 to be elected to the Senate.

Another Republican Senate candidate, Rob Barrett, Jr., compared himself to Lewis, the former Second District congressman who was unsuccessful in his re-election race in 2018. “If he can’t win in a traditionally Republican district, how can he win in a traditionally liberal state,” he asked.

The caucus participants elected candidates to the Brown County convention, which will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 21, in Sleepy Eye at the REA Building.

The caucus goers also voted on resolutions, which are being sent to the county resolution committee.

Scott Waldner, the caucus chairman, said the move to a state presidential primary was undoubtedly a factor in the turnout.

“Four years ago we had around 280 people here,” he said. “But that’s when we had 19 candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination, and we did the straw poll here at the caucuses.”

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