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Hancock wins House 2B GOP nod

Delegates to the Senate 2 Republican endorsing convention Monday night voted to hold a 15-minute question and answer session for House 2B candidates before issuing an endorsement. From left are Dave Hancock, Darrell Auginash and Doug Lindgren. The group's eventual endorsement went to Hancock. Pioneer Photo/Brad Swenson

BAGLEY - Bemidji businessman Dave Hancock easily won the House 2B Republican endorsement here Monday night, despite the late entry of former Rep. Doug Lindgren, R-Bagley.

Hancock will challenge three-term Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, in the district that includes all of Beltrami County north of Bemidji.

The Senate 2 Republican endorsing convention saw no opposition to nominating Dennis Moser for Senate 2 and Steve Green for House 2A. Moser will face Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, and Green is taking his second run at Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, in House 2A.

House 2B had only one candidate as of Friday - Red Lake Band of Chippewa member Darrell Auginash of Bemidji. As delegates arrived Monday night, they found out Hancock had thrown his hat in the ring, as well as Lindgren.

Jeff Brower of Bemidji had planned to run and was nominated, but instead nominated Lindgren and withdrew from consideration.

Lindgren's 11th-hour entry as a candidate threw the endorsing convention into a tizzy, with several delegates demanding more time - several weeks - to study candidates and then reconvening later.

Instead, they settled on holding a 15-minute question and answer session with the three remaining 2B candidates, and then voting.

During that time, Lindgren got some hard questions from delegates and an especially tough grilling from Dick Bogart of Park Rapids. Sailer ousted Lindgren in 2004, and has defeated him twice since.

"We in Hubbard County have supported you aggressively," Bogart said. "But when you said you worked hard, I'll have to take exception to that. You did not work hard, and that's why you got beat."

"Just because I didn't spend every day in Park Rapids - I personally door-knocked three times, four times," Lindgren responded. "I door-knocked Park Rapids more than I did my own home town or the other towns up north. Just because you didn't see me there all the time, doesn't mean I wasn't door-knocking or doing other things. ... We door-knocked Alaska Township and every cotton-picking house there was in those towns up there."

Later, when Bogart questioned Hancock about the time he'd be able to give to a campaign, he proffered, "If Doug had worked one-fourth as hard as Brita did, he'd still be there."

Bogart called Lindgren an :angry" candidate, after his nomination speech in which he nearly shouted that Sailer needs to be defeated.

"It might show of anger, Dick, but it is my heart," Lindgren said. "At least I step up to the plate and try. I haven't seen you do it."

With 41 House 2B delegates present, 25 votes were needed to reach the 60 percent threshold for endorsement. Hancock got 23 votes on the first ballot -- two short. Lindgren was second with nine votes and Auginash third with eight.

Auginash took the stage to say he's a better minister than a politician, withdrawing from the race and throwing his support to Hancock.

Lindgren then mounted the stage, saying in a loud, even voice, "Mr. Bogart, you won," and then exiting the stage.

Beltrami County Republican Chairman Ken Cobb immediately rose and said Lindgren's remarks sounded like a concession speech, motioned for a unanimous ballot to endorse Hancock, which passed.

"God works in mysterious ways, and it's an awesome responsibility you have bestowed upon me," Hancock said after his endorsement. "The tide is moving in our direction, and there is a groundswell of dissatisfaction at the way things are going in our state. We're ready to ride that to victory."

For 23 years, Hancock was an owner of R&D Tire in Bemidji and now is a manager at its successor, Northwest Tire. Hancock said he could "retire tomorrow" if necessary to begin campaigning.

"It is important we have independence from a social Democratic process that has really more taxes, more spending and over-regulated our lives," he said in his nominating speech.

"Brita Sailer has been involved in the last six years in doing that," Hancock said, noting her positions on House environment and energy committees.

"What we have is a $3 billion deficit," he said. "I would like to think we need to make a change, that we do not spend beyond our means. It is imperative that we bring government under control."

He said what Sailer and the DFL Party stands for in Minnesota is the same as the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C., referencing cap and trade policies and the Obama health care reform bill.

"Cap and trade is no more than a way to tax industry," he said, adding he supports the development of more clean coal power plants. "You can build a lot of windmills, but that isn't going to replace our coal-fired power plants."

Cap and trade is a way of trading carbon dioxide credits between companies that exceed pollution standards and entities such as farms or forests that utilize CO2.

He also called on developing more domestic sources of oil, such as in North Dakota.

He drew a loud round of applause during the question period when he said he would push for Minnesota to join 37 other states in a court battle that the federal health care package is unconstitutional as the 10th Amendment reserves all powers to the state that aren't delineated in the Constitution.

"I'm a constitutional conservative," Hancock said. "I believe in the Second Amendment ... I'm a strong believer in family. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe the family is the basis of our society."

Family needs to be involved in education, he said, adding that he supports a voucher system where public funding follows the student to whatever school he attends.

A veteran, Hancock also said he taught school in Colorado. It is his first foray into elected public office. He's also been a youth baseball coach.

"I believe I have the understanding of what it will take to get elected," he said. "I will have the time to call on people and knock on doors. ... I have enough money to get started, but I will ask you for your help."