Picking candidates who can win

Minnesota Republicans were swept out of the House and Senate leadership last election as the state swung away from their conservative social agenda. They lost the governor’s race two years before that after endorsing State Rep. Tom Emmer over State Rep. Marty Seifert in their state convention, picking the more conservative Emmer over Seifert. Emmer lost to Dayton, after some miscues, in a campaign many felt Seifert could have won.

This weekend the state Republicans will be selecting candidates to challenge Dayton and Sen. Al Franken. Franken, of course beat Sen. Norm Coleman in a tightly contested recount six years ago. The former Saturday Night Live writer and political satirist has been anything but a comedian in the past six years. It will take a serious candidate to beat him.

Seifert is running again this year for governor. This time he has left open the option of challenging the Republican endorsee in the state primary if he is not endorsed. We think Seifert would run a strong campaign, and has the experience and political acumen to serve the state well as governor. He is also the only outstate contender in the group seeking the Republican endorsement, and we certainly could use that point of view in the governor’s office.

In the Senate race, State Sen. Julie Ortmann has the conservative backing to win the endorsement, but whoever is endorse will likely face a primary challenge. Ortmann has clearly stated her views opposing the Affordable Care Act, NSA spying on the American public, and pushing for government by constitutional principles.

She would provide a clear choice and a strong challenge to Franken.

Whoever the Republicans endorse this weekend, it is important that they select candidates who can win. We think Seifert and Ortmann would give them that chance.

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