ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s House speaker endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney days ahead of the state’s political caucuses where the former Massachusetts governor is aiming to duplicate his 2008 win.

Republican Rep. Kurt Zellers said he thinks Romney, a businessman, is best-positioned to build the U.S. economy.

“Mitt Romney is the conservative candidate who has a clear plan to empower small businesses, rebuild the middle class, and create long-lasting economic growth,” Zellers said.

A leading state Capitol Republican told The Associated Press that House Majority Leader Matt Dean would also back Romney. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because a roster of legislative backers wasn’t due for public release until later Friday.

The endorsements signal a desire by high-level Republicans to close ranks around Romney before next Tuesday’s caucuses.

Other top Minnesota Republicans in Romney’s corner include former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Sen. Norm Coleman.

Zellers earlier supported Pawlenty, but he dropped out of the White House race in August. Dean had endorsed Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann before Iowa’s caucuses, where a disappointing showing led to her withdrawal. For her part, Bachmann has said she will remain neutral for now.

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem told reporters Friday that he wasn’t taking sides either.

“Not at this point, I’m going to stay out of it,” said Senjem, who represents a city drawing a visit Saturday from Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Romney won the state four years ago when eventual nominee John McCain was his chief competition. The former Massachusetts governor visited Minnesota on Wednesday on the heels of a runaway win in Florida’s primary and he is expected back early next week.

But others are paying attention to Minnesota’s normally sleepy caucuses, where preference ballot results are nonbinding on 40 Republican National Convention delegates who will be chosen later this year.

Paul was due to hold three events Saturday and add two more stops on Monday. He has been airing television ads since late January.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was due in the state on Sunday; a political action committee supporting his bid is airing television ads promoting him.

Minnesota advisers to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have said they expect him to squeeze in a visit before Tuesday’s vote.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (25)
  1. Gmac says:

    This is newsworthy?

  2. Angry Republican says:

    If you endorse That crook Romney, I’ll be campaigning for your opponent.

    The American people want Ron Paul, not some shaved down version of Obama, which Mitt is.

    1. Ae says:

      speak for yourself, not all Republicans want Ron Paul, I for one support Romney

      1. Angry republican says:

        Wake up and check his background. The guy wants more wars and more Patriot Acts. That means more kids dying in cities you can’t pronounce

        1. The Truth says:

          I suggest you do your research on Ron Paul. He proclaims to be a pro-life libertarian, which is an oxymoron. He wants us back on the gold standard, which would destroy our economy. He is against the civil rights acts of 1964, which is evident when you read his racist newsletters. He thinks global warming is a hoax, despite the scientific evidence to the contrary. The man is a complete nutjob.

          1. Angry republican says:

            He personally is pro-life, but the Constitution says it’s state matter. He’s for civili rights for all. the way the civil rights act is written means that a black store owner has to by law, serve a hooded KKK memeber when it should be the owner’s decision. If there is global warming, let’s sue the perps , not tax the rest of us.
            Tese are some of the facts that don’t fit into your secret love affair with Mitt. reread your healthcare disclosure form because you will either have Obamacare or Romneycare soon

          2. The Truth...isn't says:

            “the truth”???…most unlikely…your twisting like a good little MSM brainwaswhed voter…our economy is being destroyed before our eyes,you can’t see it at all?…get outta the box man!

    2. dan says:

      I dont think single digit poll numbers show that very many people want or think Paul has a chance.

      1. bpk says:

        Being from Minnesota Ventura never had a chance either, people under 40 vote too.

        1. dan says:

          I couldnt think of a better nut to compare Ron Paul to. Thank You for Jesse Ventura!

          1. orrest says:

            Jesse Venyura was an attention seeking boor, name one bad policy decision being mindful that he had the democrats and the republicans united against him.

    3. DannP says:


      Mr. Mittens Romney is a globalist progressive who I would NEVER vote for, period.

      If you choose other than Ron Paul, you’re voting for a globalsit who will continue down the same path we’ve been on.

    4. ? says:

      What makes him a crook? Did he steel, murder cheet on taxes? His tax statements are clean he paid his taxes he donates alot of money more then obama biden

      1. k says:

        y? is right,your clueless…Romney has huge offshore bank accounts verifyable

        1. Liberal fools says:

          You fools really should do your homework on this subject you I have money in Canada is that illegal NO Romney can have money in off shore account if he wants as long as he pays taxes and he does!!

  3. see it yet? says:

    Romney…Boston Consultants…Monsanto…This alone nullifies him to be Pres. because we live in a country where people still refuse the genetically altered junk seed…

  4. Tom says:

    This endorsement doesn’t mean anything! And I am surprised that Romney is getting endorsements considering his recent statements about certain issues that goes againest what the GOP stands for!

  5. Murph says:

    This list of GOP version Plato’s would be quite impressive if not for their repression,discrimination and violent fascist outbursts of thoughts,Their implementation of related laws and initiatives and their continuous false prophesies. Yes,these sleepless mini Plato’s act more and more like sleepless methheads without any control over their outbursts of discriminatory thoughts,words and actions.Plato himself would be appalled by such insane hatred and greed being hawked as conservatism. My suggestion is that they at least cut down on their consumption of meth and crack and sleep on their ideas with their own wives before thrusting their embarrassing philosophy of hate out in the open like they have! ,GOP suks!

  6. jack says:

    lets have a Binding Primary in 2016 and not a non binding caucuse

  7. Mayhem says:

    I couldnt care less who is backing who and I couldnt care less even more that another rich nut case backs another rich nut case. Why does this make the news??

    You GOP’ers make it sound like your party has a snowballs chance getting elected and throwing the country down the toilet again as Bush did. Not sure what about those 8 yrs you’d want to repeat but its your wasted vote, not mine.

    We’re just starting to reap the benefits of NOT having a republican president the last 3 1/2 yrs or so now. Unemployments down, economy shaping up, 1 Bush war down, 1 left to go. C’mon folks, be realistic here.

  8. Tom says:

    One loser backing another….no news here…

  9. Tom says:

    One loser backing another….no news here…

  10. G Dog says:

    Zellars was torn between Romney and Ken Lay.

  11. Best3800 says:

    Mayhem,your right!we can’t go back to the failed policies of the Cons. When Obama’s 2nd term is over the country will be Normal again. The two party system will be Dems and Independents because the Cons will Crash!!!

  12. Matt says:

    I would vote for Bush over any of these fools running today.

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