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Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann, left, with his wife, Bernie, addresses Republican delegates Saturday at Walker in accepting their endorsement for House 4A. To complete the team, they also endorsed John Carlson for Senate 4 and Rep. Larry Howes for his House 4B seat. Pioneer Photo/Brad Swenson

District 4 Republicans: Lehmann endorsed on first ballot for House 4A

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WALKER -- Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann took only one ballot here Saturday to capture the House 4A Republican nomination.

The Rev. David Myers, who earlier said he'd take Lehmann to the Aug. 10 primary or run in November as an independent if not endorsed, said in his nomination speech that he would now abide by the decision of the group, which met at Northern Lights Casino.

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On the first ballot, Lehmann captured 27 votes - five more than he needed - while Myers, who ended with only nine votes. Sixty percent is needed for endorsement, and Lehmann received 75 percent.

Meanwhile, delegates in House 4B voted to send Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, back to St. Paul, and the full delegation of 39 endorsed Bemidji insurance agency owner John Carlson won the Senate 4 endorsement.

Both Howes and Carlson were unopposed for their nominations.

"I was always nervous about this, but I'm pleased it went as fast as it did," Lehmann said in an interview about his first-ballot endorsement. "I had no preconceived notions whether it was going to be one way or the other. I just had to do the work in the time I had, and apparently the voice that I was speaking with is the voice that they wanted to hear."

The House 4A seat is held by Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, who is in his first term, succeeding then-Assistant House Majority Leader Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji.

Persell faces an Aug. 10 DFL primary with Nicole Beaulieu of Bemidji.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity of going to St. Paul and working hard for my constituents and be their voice down there," Lehmann said.

Myers, after insisting he would, now will not force a primary challenge.

"I respect him for that," Lehmann said. "I appreciate that, and I hope he will help now to unify the party and move forward so that we can win in November, that's our ultimate goal."

Myers ran against Moe in 2006 and lost, and was an early 2008 candidate but later withdrew. He said he ran this time because he didn't like the moral direction the country is taking.

"I am who I am," Myers said in his nomination speech. "I am what I am. I am unabashedly right wing, and I don't try to change that, depending on the audience that I am addressing."

Howes, in his nomination speech, said politicians are being labeled as angry in St. Paul, but he disagrees. Politicians need to be cheerful, he said.

"I disagree with Rep. Howes," Myers said. "I am angry. I think it's going to take anger to get anything done. We don't need politics as usual; we don't need business as usual. You need someone who is going to be angry; you need somebody who's going to try to rock the boat, and that somebody is going to be me."

"We're dealing with questions that go to the core of who we are and what we're about as a republic," the Rev. Jack High said in placing Myers in nomination. "I believe our republic is being threatened, and we're going to become if we don't fight, a socialist state."

High said Myers "is a man who fits the times, because he's a man of courage; he's a man who won't give up; and, he's a man who will be consistent in the principles he goes forward with."

Myers said he earlier threatened a primary challenge or independent run. "I said that for a reason," he said. "I said those things because I have grave reservations about the true conservatism of my opponent. And I wanted you to think about those same things."

Lehmann's experience as mayor is what is needed in St. Paul, said Howes, who placed the mayor's name in nomination.

"We have argued back and forth many times and many times have we been on the opposite side of an issue," said Howes. "I what I like about Richard is he's been a mayor, elected five times in a row in the city of Bemidji. We need to take control of the House of Representatives. We cannot do it without Bemidji, Brainerd, Little Falls, and hopefully 2B."

Republicans need to win and need to take the majority, he said. "Being a mayor is a lot different than being a state representative. ..."

Lehmann's nomination was seconded by John Herrera, an attorney and Leech Lake tribal member.

"I think he can provide the hope, growth and opportunity," he said, adding that hope is for "balancing the state budget that we so desperately need ," growth as exhibited in the city during Lehmann's term, and the many opportunities he's provided for people of the area.

"I've been able to watch the growth of the Bemidji area ... and I can say with all honesty that I view Richard as a uniter, not a divider," Herrera said.

Lehmann served as a Bemidji City Council member before being elected to mayor. He has worked for the state Department of Transportation and now for Northwest Technical College.

"It's very critical that we send people down to St. Paul that are going to represent the people ... and a uniter," Lehmann said. "Let's get the work done, but most importantly, let's do what's right for Minnesotans."

Giving government back to the people is key, he said.

In the interview, Lehmann said he will focus a campaign on the issues.

"We're going to stick with the issues," he said. "We're going to focus on what issues are facing our district and the state. We have to present ourselves that I am the candidate to be the best representative of the people."

Minnesota needs to get back to its grass roots, he said. "We own the government, the government doesn't own us. We have to go down there and show that."

Outside the Northern Lights Casino, perennial House 4A candidate and tabloid publisher Adam Steele was picketing with a sign that read, "Richard Lehmann: Cat Killer."

The Bemidji City Council is currently considering an ordinance to regulate cats, including limiting how many a resident can own.

The only convention reference to Steele's protest came from Howes during his nomination speech of Lehmann. "By the way, the cats taste just like chicken," he said.

Y bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

WALKER -- Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann took only one ballot here Saturday to capture the House 4A Republican nomination.

The Rev. David Myers, who earlier said he'd take Lehmann to the Aug. 10 primary or run in November as an independent if not endorsed, said in his nomination speech that he would now abide by the decision of the group, which met at Northern Lights Casino.

On the first ballot, Lehmann captured 27 votes - five more than he needed - while Myers, who ended with only nine votes. Sixty percent is needed for endorsement, and Lehmann received 75 percent.

Meanwhile, delegates in House 4B voted to send Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, back to St. Paul, and the full delegation of 39 endorsed Bemidji insurance agency owner John Carlson won the Senate 4 endorsement.

Both Howes and Carlson were unopposed for their nominations.

"I was always nervous about this, but I'm pleased it went as fast as it did," Lehmann said in an interview about his first-ballot endorsement. "I had no preconceived notions whether it was going to be one way or the other. I just had to do the work in the time I had, and apparently the voice that I was speaking with is the voice that they wanted to hear."

The House 4A seat is held by Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, who is in his first term, succeeding then-Assistant House Majority Leader Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji.

Persell faces an Aug. 10 DFL primary with Nicole Beaulieu of Bemidji.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity of going to St. Paul and working hard for my constituents and be their voice down there," Lehmann said.

Myers, after insisting he would, now will not force a primary challenge.

"I respect him for that," Lehmann said. "I appreciate that, and I hope he will help now to unify the party and move forward so that we can win in November, that's our ultimate goal."

Myers ran against Moe in 2006 and lost, and was an early 2008 candidate but later withdrew. He said he ran this time because he didn't like the moral direction the country is taking.

"I am who I am," Myers said in his nomination speech. "I am what I am. I am unabashedly right wing, and I don't try to change that, depending on the audience that I am addressing."

Howes, in his nomination speech, said politicians are being labeled as angry in St. Paul, but he disagrees. Politicians need to be cheerful, he said.

"I disagree with Rep. Howes," Myers said. "I am angry. I think it's going to take anger to get anything done. We don't need politics as usual; we don't need business as usual. You need someone who is going to be angry; you need somebody who's going to try to rock the boat, and that somebody is going to be me."

"We're dealing with questions that go to the core of who we are and what we're about as a republic," the Rev. Jack High said in placing Myers in nomination. "I believe our republic is being threatened, and we're going to become if we don't fight, a socialist state."

High said Myers "is a man who fits the times, because he's a man of courage; he's a man who won't give up; and, he's a man who will be consistent in the principles he goes forward with."

Myers said he earlier threatened a primary challenge or independent run. "I said that for a reason," he said. "I said those things because I have grave reservations about the true conservatism of my opponent. And I wanted you to think about those same things."

Lehmann's experience as mayor is what is needed in St. Paul, said Howes, who placed the mayor's name in nomination.

"We have argued back and forth many times and many times have we been on the opposite side of an issue," said Howes. "I what I like about Richard is he's been a mayor, elected five times in a row in the city of Bemidji. We need to take control of the House of Representatives. We cannot do it without Bemidji, Brainerd, Little Falls, and hopefully 2B."

Republicans need to win and need to take the majority, he said. "Being a mayor is a lot different than being a state representative. ..."

Lehmann's nomination was seconded by John Herrera, an attorney and Leech Lake tribal member.

"I think he can provide the hope, growth and opportunity," he said, adding that hope is for "balancing the state budget that we so desperately need ," growth as exhibited in the city during Lehmann's term, and the many opportunities he's provided for people of the area.

"I've been able to watch the growth of the Bemidji area ... and I can say with all honesty that I view Richard as a uniter, not a divider," Herrera said.

Lehmann served as a Bemidji City Council member before being elected to mayor. He has worked for the state Department of Transportation and now for Northwest Technical College.

"It's very critical that we send people down to St. Paul that are going to represent the people ... and a uniter," Lehmann said. "Let's get the work done, but most importantly, let's do what's right for Minnesotans."

Giving government back to the people is key, he said.

In the interview, Lehmann said he will focus a campaign on the issues.

"We're going to stick with the issues," he said. "We're going to focus on what issues are facing our district and the state. We have to present ourselves that I am the candidate to be the best representative of the people."

Minnesota needs to get back to its grass roots, he said. "We own the government, the government doesn't own us. We have to go down there and show that."

Outside the Northern Lights Casino, perennial House 4A candidate and tabloid publisher Adam Steele was picketing with a sign that read, "Richard Lehmann: Cat Killer."

The Bemidji City Council is currently considering an ordinance to regulate cats, including limiting how many a resident can own.

The only convention reference to Steele's protest came from Howes during his nomination speech of Lehmann. "By the way, the cats taste just like chicken," he said.

bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pioneer staff reports
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