GOP taps KellyLocal GOP faithful unanimously selected Tim Kelly as their candidate for House District 28A. Kelly, a Red Wing School Board member, received the endorsement Thursday by delegates who dispensed with protocol, opting for a standing ovation over ballots.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Local GOP faithful unanimously selected Tim Kelly as their candidate for House District 28A.
Kelly, a Red Wing School Board member, received the endorsement Thursday by delegates who dispensed with protocol, opting for a standing ovation over ballots.
“We’re going to be unified in our party and we’re going to make sure Tim wins,” said Gary Iocco, who waged a losing battle in 2006 against Kelly’s incumbent challenger, Rep. Sandy Wollschlager.
Support for Kelly — the only Republican contender for the seat — appeared strong at the convention. He was joined by more than 30 supporters onstage at the Red Wing American Legion as he delivered his speech.
Still, his campaign to St. Paul will be a challenge. After former Rep. Jerry Dempsey, a Republican, left the Legislature in 2005, the seat swung back to the DFL with Wollschlager’s 2006 victory.
Asked how a GOP candidate can expect more support against an incumbent than Iocco received in an open race, local Republican operatives said 2008 won’t represent a referendum on President Bush, who leaves office this year.
“It’s a different political landscape than it was two years ago,” Iocco said.
Supporters at the convention said Kelly, a financial adviser who was raised on a farm, will be a voice for farmers, small businesses and local schools.
During a speech, Kelly voiced a message of common sense and fiscal responsibility. He lashed out at Wollschlager and Democrats who overturned Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a transportation funding bill, saying tax increases in the package were irresponsible.
“This is simply money management 101,” Kelly said.
Endorsements included former District 28A candidate Theresa Whitson and Red Wing School Board Chairman Paul Kramp.
“I think that the Red Wing School Board’s loss will be the state’s gain,” Kramp said.