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Tim Tingelstad of Bemidji, a local magistrate, explains one of two resolutions he authored to 90 delegates at Saturday's Beltrami County Republican Convention. Approved was Tingelstad's resolution that the state Republican Party acknowledge that "the laws of this state must be consistent with the Law of God, as set forth in the Ten Commandments." Pioneer Photo/Brad Swenson

Seiftert takes slim edge in Beltrami GOP delegates

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Seiftert takes slim edge in Beltrami GOP delegates
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

State Rep. Marty Seiftert took a slim edge in his bid for gubernatorial endorsement in delegates elected Saturday by Beltrami County Republicans at their convention in Northern Elementary School.

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With 15 delegates at stake, Beltrami County Republicans elected six delegates for Seiftert of Marshall and five for Rep. Tom Emmer of Delano. Four delegates didn't say who they supported or were undecided.

Seiftert finished first on precinct caucus night, with Emmer second.

Saturday's vote by congressional district - Beltrami County is split between the 7th and 8th Congressional districts and delegates must be elected by congressional district -- was different.

With 10 delegates from the 7th District, five supported Emmer and two for Seifert with three not specifying. With 8th District delegates, which elect five, four were for Seifert and one undecided.

Several delegates noted a rise in conservatism since the last election, and liked the direction of the party.

"It's good to see the rise of conservatism again," said Rick Hoff, who screened as a delegate and was elected an alternate delegate. He said he had drifted away from the party but has come back now, delighted with newfound conservatism locally.

The Beltrami County Republicans upgraded the local party's constitution to make it conform with the Minnesota Republican Constitution, and as a result the new document allows affiliated status to like groups.

As a result, the county unit voted to approve as affiliated groups the Bemidji State University College Republicans and a new group. Oak Hills Christian College Republicans.

"This is great for us to raise the profile of the BSU College Republicans," said President Arlene Cuthrell.

"This is exciting for us as we just started, and we look forward to working with the Beltrami County Republicans," Jacob Griese, president of the Oak Hills College Republicans.

Beltrami County Republicans Chairman Ken Cobb gave an address on how valuable the U.S. Constitution is to individual freedom and democracy, and played several snippets from a DVD documentary on this summer's tea parties.

The 90 delegates heard from two candidates -- John Carlson for Senate 4 and Dennis Moser for Senate 2 -- and letters of support were read for several gubernatorial, congressional and state auditor candidates.

Kath Molitor, Beltrami County Republican vice chairwoman, read a letter from Melva Larson of Bagley, a 7th Congressional District candidate seeking to oust U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, the DFLer from Detroit Lakes. Molitor said Larson is the former Melva Weir, longtime sheriff's secretary in Beltrami County and former Beltrami County commissioner.

There are at least four Republican candidates seeking endorsement to run against Peterson. Likewise, there are a handful of Republicans set to run against U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, DFL-8th District.

Delegates considered 19 resolutions to amend the state party platform, with about half of them passing.

The group liked "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the senators and representatives; and Congress shall make no law that applies to senators and representatives that does not apply equally to every citizen of the United States," giving it applause and unanimous consent.

Delegates didn't like and voted down a resolution to lower or eliminate the Minnesota state income tax for citizens 65 years of age or older.

Molitor argued that wealthy senior citizens need not be excluded from taxes, and suggested some kind of sliding schedule to benefit seniors on fixed incomes.

Delegate Neil Skogerboe disliked the measure, saying it promotes age warfare. All citizens should be treated equally, he said.

Delegates didn't even discuss but quickly voted down a resolution that the state Republican Party seek a new name, such as "America's Mainstream Party."

Tim Tinglestad, a delegate and a local magistrate judge who has run twice for Minnesota Supreme Court justice, successfully had approved his resolution that the party "shall acknowledge that, if this state is to again secure the blessings of God sought by our founding fathers, then the laws of this state must be consistent with the Law of God, as set forth in the Ten Commandments."

He said that "the cornerstone in the foundation of the law of this state has been laid in the Preamble of the Minnesota State Constitution, which states, 'We the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God, for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution ...'"

The basis of the resolution is that "absolute truth has its source only in the Word of God, and not in the opinion of man," Tingelstad said.

He withdrew a second resolution, that the party stand against any constitutional amendment which take away the people's right to elect their judges, as it is covered in the platform.

Elected as 7th District delegates were Ken Cobb, Abbi Cobb, David Goertz, Jutta Goertz, Darrel Carter, Mona Carter, Jeff Molnar, Rich Marshall, Tim Tingelstad and Arlene Cuthrell. The 7th District Convention is April 10 in Moorhead.

Elected as 8th District delegates were Kath Molitor, Barb Zentek, John Carlson, Ann Carlson and Annette Glidden. That convention is April 10 in Cambridge.

The State Republican Convention is April 29 to May 1 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

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Pioneer staff reports
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