With the Republican caucuses on March 1st getting closer, Senate District 49 Republican Party hosted a Dinner Program on February 23rd that featured a panel of Minnesota representatives for each of the five Presidential campaigns. More than 100 attendees listened intently as each panel member stated why they were passionate about their candidate and what was most compelling about the candidate’s life story.
There were further questions on streamlining government, controlling healthcare costs, dealing with foreign threats, and improving education outcomes. The candidates’ representatives answered with sound conservative solutions with differing areas of emphasis.
The positions of the panel members are summarized below, in alphabetical order of the candidate’s name. The candidates’ websites are also provided.
Now it’s time for each of us to complete our own homework, study the five candidates, and select the one who’ll get our personal vote at the March 1 Caucus.
For Ben Carson
Alex Plechash, Republican leader in Senate District 33
Alex Plechash supports Ben Carson. Everyone knows Carson’s background and his life story about overcoming life’s obstacles with humility and grace. Carson is the only candidate who has experienced every economic level of life from bottom to top. He is humble yet wise. He is a team builder. He works collaboratively. He is a healer in every sense of the work. Carson is convinced that this nation needs an ethics-based leader, not a bombastic ideologue. Alex believes Ben Carson has the best chance of beating the opposition’s nominee, whether that’s Hillary or Bernie.
For Ted Cruz
Brandon Lerch, state director for Ted Cruz in Minnesota
Brandon Lerch agrees with Cruz that we must take a stand for constitutional integrity in government. Cruz is a man who as solicitor general in Texas made a stand for a constitutional and liberty-driven legal litigation for the state of Texas. That’s how Ted ran as a Senator and has run a presidential candidate for the nation. What Brandon Lurch saw in Washington DC (where he met his Minnesota-native wife) was that Republicans weren’t even getting close to making a difference in these areas. That’s why he was personally inspired to work for Ted Cruz
For John Kasich
Chuck Slocum, President, the Williston Group and former Chair of MN Republican Party
Chuck Slocum supports John Kasich, whom he’s known since their early days together in field politics. They continued to meet later, when Kasich was a representative and governor. Kasich has figured out how to get things done. As a newly elected governor, he had an $8 billion dollar one year deficit. He went to work with a sense of community and political skill that is as impressive as any governor. The two things that are most important about John Kasich are his personal character and his ability to lead. Chuck believes he is the right person at the right time. Slocum also reminded attendees that Republicans are a strong force across the country in state and federal elected positions.
For Marco Rubio
Rep. Dennis Smith, MN House Representative from District 34B (Maple Grove and Osseo)
Dennis Smith supports Marco Rubio because Rubio has the ability to expand the conservative base in a way no politician has done since Ronald Reagan. Marco is the son of immigrants who worked his way up from public schools, to local and state government to the US Senate while raising his family. He’s learned from those life experiences to explain complex issues in simple terms. And he explains issues within a framework of timeless conservative ideas. Important in the Twins Cities is Marco Rubio’s generational appeal. He is likeable and hopeful. He is an optimistic conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan. Dennis Smith believes Rubio is the candidate of tomorrow and has the most thorough positions.
For Donald Trump
Chris Hupke, Trump senior advisor
Chris Hupke took a step of faith when he accepted the position to work for Donald Trump’s campaign, not knowing whether Trump would be in for 2 weeks or 2 months. Chris listened to Trump and his own commitment went from his head to his heart. Chris had never heard a more patriotic candidate or known one who worked harder. Trump has a 45-year track record of starting with a trash heap and making something. The USA has a $19 trillion dollar deficit and a lot of troubles. And if we don’t solve these problems, the country is in trouble. Chris believes that Donald Trump is only candidate who has the ability to stick to the hardest positions and do what needs to be done.