Before State Central took place, I stated that the conservative bloc held a majority of power in the Minnesota GOP right now. That statement was absolutely correct, and unfortunately for Tom Emmer, it was one big reason he lost the campaign for national committeeman.
When he won the gubernatorial nomination last year, it was because he represented a break from the traditional paradigm of a candidate who had little to no personality, who voted like a moderate, and who acted only after instructed to act by his party's most out-of-touch leaders.
After he received the nomination, he became that guy. He started to let people like Norm Coleman and now-Speaker Kurt Zellers write his game plan. In other words, moderate politicians who were dishonest and dishonorable ran roughshod over a man who won by being decent.
As time went on, the problem got worse. During the campaign for national committeeman, it seemed almost like Tom was afraid to say anything conservative or revolutionary at all. He even had Speaker Kurt Zellers, Majority Leader Matt Dean, and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch stand on stage with him.
Deep down, I know that Tom Emmer is a conservative guy. I was willing to take a leap of faith in believing that he would act on his principles when it really mattered, because I knew his opponents wouldn't do anything too spectacular either.
Unfortunately for Tom, thirty conservatives who voted for Pat Anderson thought their prospects would be better taking a chance with the other guy.
The other guy (Jeff Johnson) also received support from a lot of establishment folks in the party. That doesn't mean Jeff is establishment; I like Jeff. It speaks to where the GOP is at these days that there was no other really good place for the establishment folks to go.
After the results were announced, Tom didn't look very shaken. Speaker Zellers, however, looked like he was going to cry. I have to admit, that was a big surprise for me. It was enough to even make me question my vote. (Of course I voted for Tom.)
Notably, John Kline endorsed Tom. His wife, Vicki Kline, endorsed a candidate against Pat Anderson. Both choices selected by the Kline couple lost.
Like I said, our party leaders have gotten more conservative in the last few years. Moderate politicians like John Kline do not represent the party's base any longer.
In the end, it was an upset. But was it for the worse? I'm not sure. Jeff Johnson isn't a bad guy, and he may even work with the conservative movement for its betterment. Time will tell.