Walz, Johnson top area caucus votes
Dodge County residents gathered for precinct caucuses on Feb. 6 to choose their preferences for the 2018 governor’s election.
Seventy-nine Democratic Farmer Labor members met at Triton High School in Dodge Center.
They learned about this year’s candidates, debated resolutions for the party platform, elected new precinct chairs, selected delegates for upcoming conventions, and participated in a non-binding gubernatorial ballot.
Eighty percent of the voters (63) chose Tim Walz (D-Mankato), a District 1 Congressman who plans to seek Gov. Mark Dayton’s position.
Five voters chose Rebecca Otto, the current state auditor; three chose state Rep. Tina Liebling of Rochester; two chose state Rep. Paul Thiessen; two chose state Rep. Erin Murphy; and one chose former St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman.
“I was real happy for the participation and the people speaking,” county DFL executive committee member Delano Paulson said. “It worked out nice on a cold night out. They still came out.”
Walz received all 11 votes in Concord Township.
“People know him here in the First District,” Paulson said. “He’s just solid.”
The county DFL convention is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24 at Kasson-Mantorville Middle School.
Call Paulson at 507-259-6093 for more information.
Seventy-five Republican caucus-goers met at Dodge Center City Hall, Kasson-Mantorville High School, the West Concord Historical Society building, and Hayfield Township Hall.
Thirty-six voted for Jeff Johnson, the 2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee, while 28 voted for conservative activist Phillip Parrish, six voted for Woodbury mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, one voted for former state Rep. Keith Downey, and four were undecided.
Lance Johnson, who worked under former Gov. Harold LeVander and in the state attorney general’s office, received no votes.
Caucus turnout was light, said former county and district GOP chair Gene Westphal of Kasson.
He said the largest turnout was at Kasson-Mantorville High School, with about 15 people. The normal turnout is 20 to 40 people.
“I expected that,” Westphal said. “Usually in a non-presidential election year it’s very light. People just aren’t interested in coming.
No resolutions were passed at the various sites.
“I would expect the next one we have, that’ll be a lot different,” Westphal said. “It definitely wasn’t this time.”
All visitors automatically became delegates to the GOP county convention, scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 17 in Dodge Center.
Call Westphal at 507-250-6336 for more information.