As I mentioned this morning, there was a GOP endorsement battle for the MN House seat being vacated by my current Republican representative Jim Abeler.
After only one ballot, 26-year old Abigail Whelan defeated Don Huizenga by securing 64% of the voting delegates. Even though I supported Whelan, I admit that I was shocked by that result. Truth be told, I predicted this race would go “no endorsement”, thus heading to a primary contest this summer.
While Huizenga was gracious in defeat, some of his supporters (many of whom are libertarians) who took to social media to analyze the result were less so. Whelan has been unabashed about her faith in Jesus Christ and how her worldview has shaped her life. As such, my House District is being painted as a bastion of “bible thumpers” looking to replace the Constitution with the Holy Bible. There were even references to last week’s endorsement fight in HD 30B where social conservatives also won. However, that is an asinine comparison since the majority of delegates in 30B were looking to out incumbent House member David FitzSimmons over his “yes” vote on legalizing same-sex marriage (and I disagreed with the mindset of those majority of 30B delegates). In 35A, it was an open race.
I don’t know that either side (libertarians or social conservatives) were any more motivated than the other on caucus night when delegates to today’s convention were selected. Perhaps many didn’t even decide on a candidate until this past week when Huizenga revealed he had been arrested for disorderly conduct last June. While I believe he did the right thing by revealing the incident, it might have made 35A delegates uneasy about his prospects for a general election win. I’m not convinced that Whelan’s win had as much to do with her deep-rooted faith as much as the fact she doesn’t much (if any) baggage. Again, who knows what the mindset was? But to make a broad-brush assumption that this was some sort of revolt by Christians seems far too simplistic.
The bottom line is the same endorsement process lauded by the “WIBERTY!” crowd in 2012 was being poo-pooed by some of the same people once the result didn’t end in their favor. Many of us non “WIBERTY!” Republicans were lectured in 2012 to coalesce behind the chosen Republican candidate regardless if he/she was our first choice. It’ll be interesting to see if the “wibertarians” follow their own advice. After all, isn’t it the objective of all Republican factions to, y’know, defeat Democrats? I believe I read that somewhere.