LPMN MrEdCo FYI: REPUBLICAN SENATOR LOSES ENDORSEMENT OVER PROFILE
- Maple River Education Coalition PAC(MrEdCoPAC)
153 Chestnut, Suite 200-B
Mankato, MN 56001
REPUBLICAN SENATOR LOSES ENDORSEMENT OVER PROFILE
April 3, 2000
On Saturday, April 1st, in a surprise political upset, the Republican
Senate District 56 convention in Stillwater resoundingly rejected
28-year Republican Senate incumbent Gary Laidig as its candidate. On
the first ballot, Dr. Michele Bachmann was endorsed 62% to Laidig's 38%.
Dr. Bachmann herself, who arrived at her convention with no intention of
running, was shocked by her victory.
Senator Laidig is known as the Senator who for years has been opposing
the Party Platform, and local activists wanted to support a candidate
who would represent them at the legislature, particularly on the Profile of
Learning. Laidig was a deciding vote in the Senate this year against some
of the efforts to remove the Profile as a mandate from schools. He has
consistently voted to support the Profile of Learning and to oppose
the Northstar Standard.
The drama began to unfold as convention resolutions opposing the Profile
were being adopted. What began as some delegates' desire get a debate
going with the incumbent legislator at the convention by putting up an
opposition candidate, blossomed into a spontaneous and genuine draft
effort by the convention delegates to endorse a credible alternative to
"I was not expecting to be a candidate for the Senate when I left home
for the convention Saturday morning," said Michele Bachmann, a tax
litigation attorney who has been a powerful spokesperson opposing the
Profile of Learning and School-to-Work all across the state for the
past two years. "I came in wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and moccasins
and I had no make-up on at all. I had not one piece of literature, I
had made not one phone call, I had spent not five cents and I did not
solicit one vote."
However, Bachmann was known in her community for her high visibility on
the education issue and through her race for school board last Fall.
She lost that race, but, in the meantime, she has positioned herself as a
formidable potential candidate with the conviction and energy to battle
the onerous state Profile system in Minnesota.
A friend offered to place her name in nomination, and one of the local
Stillwater high school student, Emily Michnay, also requested to make a
brief nominating speech. Bachmann followed up with a powerful five minute
speech focusing on Laidig's voting record on a number of key issues, the
devastating effects of the Profile of Learning on our children and ending
with an appeal to defend our freedom.
Laidig began his speech with, "Well, you've paid your $20 to get in here and
now you've had your entertainment for the day." Delegates were not
amused. A secret ballot followed.
After the votes were counted, a shocked Laidig huddled at length with Senate
District leadership and with Senate and Republican Party staffers to plan
some strategy while the convention waited in suspense for the announced
A recount was announced instead, but the recount only served to widen
margin of victory. The delegates began demanding results. Patience was
Finally, Laidig came forward to challenge the validity of the vote, but his
challenge was ruled invalid. The vote was then announced, 80 - 49, and
Michele Bachmann was declared the endorsed Republican Senate candidate from
Earlier that day, two Republican House candidates were endorsed, Mark
56A and Peg Larsen of 56B, both incumbents. Rep. Holsten also faced a
but survived the challenge after a plea from Rep. Pawlenty, House Republican
Majority Leader. Rep. Larsen was endorsed unanimously.
Says Bachmann, "I am committed to winning this race. We will put together
an aggressive, issue-oriented campaign and bring it to every home and
voter in this district." She was meeting with supporters and Party leaders
Senator Dick Day, the Republican Minority Leader from Owatonna, was first
elected to the Senate in 1990 when he challenged an incumbent Republican
Senator, Sen. Mel Frederick, for the endorsement. Day went on to defeat
Frederick in the Republican primary by 50.3% and then won in the general
election by 51.6%. The Senate Republican Caucus (the group of elected
Republican Senators) opposed Day, the endorsed Republican candidate.
Day has stated his conviction that Republican Party activists should
never defy the will of the Senate Republican Caucus, and that he and his
Senators are 100% behind Gary Laidig in a primary battle, though Laidig
routinely opposes Day's leadership on substantive issues like the Profile
This is a time for all of us to urge Republican Senators like Dick
Day and others to support the endorsed candidate in SD 56, or, at a
minimum, to stay neutral on that race. Senators who are truly committed
to ending the Profile should welcome the opportunity to replace their
colleague with someone who will vote with them on this crucial issue.