County Republican vote goes to Santorum; DFL endorses AndersonCarlton County Republicans leaned in much the same direction as their counterparts around the state at Tuesday night’s caucuses, with most precincts supporting GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Carlton County Republicans leaned in much the same direction as their counterparts around the state at Tuesday night’s caucuses, with most precincts supporting GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
According to Carlton County Republican Chairman Fred Little, former U.S. Senator Santorum of Pennsylvania earned 51 percent of the county’s straw poll vote. Santorum received 114 votes, followed by U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas with 56, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 29 and ex-U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 26.
In Cloquet’s five precincts, 22 voters gave Santorum the nod, with 15 supporting Romney, 11 endorsing Gingrich, and seven voting in favor of Paul.
Santorum also came out ahead among Republicans in Moose Lake, with 22 of the total votes. Paul came in second with 19 votes, Gingrich scored seven, and Romney came in last with five.
Caucus voters in Barnum’s Republican poll bucked the tide, however, endorsing Paul with a total vote count of 10, trailed by Romney with five, and Santorum and Gingrich with three each.
“It’s been a real winnowing process,” said Barry Bergquist, chairman’s appointee to the Carlton County Republican Committee, of the Republican Presidential race as a whole. “Each candidate has had his chance to shine.”
Bergquist said attendance at Tuesday night’s caucuses was “very good,” with 54 voting in Cloquet, 53 in Moose Lake and 21 in Barnum.
There were several fresh faces at Cloquet’s precinct caucus at Cloquet High School. Among them was recent college graduate Jake Pederson who said he attended the caucus because he supports Ron Paul, not so much because he supports any particular Republican agenda. Pederson said he falls more into the independent voter category, and noted that he attended the DFL caucus last year.
“I think the things [Paul] talks about touch us more,” Pederson said. “The things Romney talks about are things we [the younger generation] have grown to resent, like big companies that fail and still get golden parachutes.”
Esko High School seniors Kirsten Schwarz and Katie Oland also went to the caucus to support Ron Paul, although only Schwarz could vote in the straw poll because Oland doesn’t live in Cloquet.
“I did a little speech about how Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper and I think Gingrich will do anything for money,” Oland said, adding that Santorum’s religious credentials don’t appeal to her either. “But Ron Paul, his foreign policies are great and I like smaller government.”
Bergquist said that the county had no problem filling all its delegate spots for the upcoming county convention, though some alternate spots remain unfilled. He said there appeared to be “no burning issues” among local Republicans, with only one resolution introduced in Cloquet’s Fourth Ward. That resolution, introduced by Bergquist, concerned streamlining the state’s permitting process.
“Right now it’s ridiculously slow,” he said, “and we have to do something to change that.”
He gave as an example the fact that USG currently has a new line waiting to start up, but it’s bogged down in the permitting process and is unable to do so.
Bergquist said the resolution received “100 percent” support from Fourth Ward Republicans.
The political race that attracted the most attention at Carlton County DFL caucuses was the candidacies of those hoping to run against 8th Congressional District incumbent Chip Cravaak. The county-wide nod went to former Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson, with 102 votes, followed by former 6th District Congressman Rick Nolan with 62 and former State Senator Tarryl Clark with 10.
Among the resolutions to be introduced at Cloquet’s DFL precinct caucus was a resolution stating that government should not be based on constitutional amendments. Another opposed constitutional amendments threatening the rights of same-sex couples, ballot box accessibility and worker’s rights protections.