In the last week, Terry McCall and Pat Shortridge joined the race for chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party. (Shortridge is pictured at left.) I have never met Shortridge, but I have noticed the media favors him. Click here to see Doug Grow writing for MinnPost about how he expects him to win. Doug's credentials as an informed member of the GOP may be in question, but maybe we can still appreciate his wisdom as a member of the press corps.
In addition to Todd McIntyre, it looks like McCall and Shortridge will round out the field of candidates for chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota. One of the three will be elected on December 31.
None of the candidates have shared many endorsements to date, though some people have shared their endorsements independent of the candidates. Janet Beihoffer, who once served as the Republican chair of a congressional district before being forced to resign due to infighting, endorsed Pat Shortridge in a post on LookTrueNorth.
Janet has always been more of an establishment Republican, so again, it is a reason I am cautious of Shortridge.
In reference to Shortridge's employment with Marco Rubio and earlier with Dick Armey , she writes, "[Shortridge] is a bona fide conservative - anyone who has worked with and for Dick Armey and Marco Rubio is the real deal."
It is disingenuous -- and an indicator of Beihoffer's status as an establishment Republican -- to say that Dick Armey was an ideal advocate of limited government. Along with Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey helped to derail the Republican Revolution of 1994.
In addition to Beihoffer associating Shortridge with Armey, Shortridge did so himself an e-mail announcing his candidacy. Shortridge wrote of his time with Armey: "We beat back a Republican establishment who had lost the will to fight for our principles, especially in the US House. "
Outside of that, Shortridge brought up his time as chief of staff for former Congressman Mark Kennedy. He wrote in his announcement: "While Mark was always a stalwart, principled fighter for the things you and I believe in, the majority around him changed."
In other words, when Kennedy lost his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2006 (by a record-breaking margin), it was somebody else's fault. My recollection is that Kennedy was always afraid to stand up for conservative principles, and often voted against them.
I will try to make Kennedy and Armey the subjects of a post prior to the election next Saturday.
In the meantime, I am not confident enough in Shortridge's conservative credentials to support him over Terry McCall. The two decades Terry has spent being involved with Minnesota's Republican Party give me more confidence than anyone else's credentials as a bona fide political operative. We have enough bona fide operatives. Michael Brodkorb was one of them. They aren't working for us.
This is my statement endorsing Terry:
"In the five years I have served as chairman of the Pine County Republicans and as a delegate to the State Central Committee, I have not seen any candidate as impressive as Terry McCall. Terry is a genuinely good person who has built relationships with people at the local level and with leaders in the Republican Party. He will encourage legislators to remain conservative, appeal to donors, and be willing to talk to activists who may be lost in the fray by leaders who are less energetic or attentive. This is a rare combination, and I hope Republicans take advantage of it."