Reporting Pat Kessler
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota Ron Paul supporters are planning their next move in state Republican politics after widespread losses on Election Day.
The Texas Congressman built some of his strongest support here in Minnesota. But at the Liberty Movement Forum in Minneapolis, Paul supporters said the party abandoned small government principles, and hurt the GOP brand in Minnesota with divisive social issues.
Paul’s Minnesota campaign manager, Marianne Stebbins, says the marriage amendment pulled focus away from real issues.
“People who support Republicans support Republicans because they think they believe in small government, and…they believe that they’re strong on the economics. But then when the Republican Party goes out there and runs on the marriage amendment, people are thinking, ‘Well, where’s the small government party?’” Stebbins said.
The Ron Paul Republicans may be the most motivated political activists in Minnesota, but many were offended with their treatment by the GOP establishment.
At the National Republican Convention, Minnesota had one of the largest delegations for Dr. Paul.
But the GOP changed party rules to prevent future delegations like it.
At the Minneapolis post-mortem, Paul supporters – like Margaret LeClair of the Minn. GOP Health Care Task Force – condemned the rules changes, but said they won’t go away. They are promising a sharp focus on limited government.
“It needs to be nimble. It needs to be small. It needs to be able to react to the issues of the day, and move our state forward,” LeClair said.
Dr. Paul’s active, deep Minnesota supporters are winning Republican Party local offices and elected posts as well.
Stebbins says she will not run for state Republican Party chair, but says other Paul supporters will.
“We are the ones who can grow the party. We are the ones who can get the Republican Party back to that small government message,” Stebbins said.
The Minnesota Republicans will elect a new State Chair of the Party next April.