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Cravaack to headline Beltrami GOP convention

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-8th District, will be the keynote speaker at the Beltrami Republican Convention next Saturday in Bemidji.

"Cravaack won an historic upset victory against Transportation Chairman James Oberstar in the recent midterm elections," says Beltrami GOP Chairman Ken Cobb. "Among an election filled with major upsets and the defeat of numerous seemingly untouchable Democrats, Chip's win stands out as one of the most notable."

Cravaack, a retired military and commercial pilot, defeated 34-year veteran Oberstar in the northeast Minnesota election as Republicans took control of the U.S. House.

Also scheduled to speak are two new locally elected Republicans to the Minnesota Legislature, Sen. John Carlson and Dave Hancock, both of Bemidji.

Carlson ousted Senate 4 incumbent DFLer Mary Olson of Bemidji and Hancock defeated three-term DFLer Brita Sailer of Park Rapids in the House 2B race.

The Beltrami Republican Convention begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Beltrami Electric Cooperative community room.

The convention will also feature straw polls for the 2012 Republican races for president and Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat. The presidential race features two potential Minnesotans -- former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and 6th District U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Results will be announced during the convention. In addition, county party officers and State Central Committee delegates and alternates will be elected for two-year terms.

The convention should run no later than noon, Cobb said.

Beltrami County DFLers, meanwhile, will hold their annual Presidents Day fund-raiser Feb. 21 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Bemidji Eagles Club, and features Minnesota House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis. It will honor both Olson and Sailer.