News

Cook County GOP caucus has light turnout

Brian Larsen


Cook County GOP Chairman Mary Petz distributed literature at the GOP caucus that was held Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the little log building at the Cook County Community Center. Only 20 people attended, enough to get a lot of business done. 
Staff photo/Brian Larsen Cook County GOP Chairman Mary Petz distributed literature at the GOP caucus that was held Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the little log building at the Cook County Community Center. Only 20 people attended, enough to get a lot of business done. Staff photo/Brian Larsen Two years ago 139 people turned out for the Cook County GOP BPOU caucus. This year 20 braved the cold Feb. 6 night to attend the almost three-hour-long caucus held at the Cook County Community Center log building.

Current GOP county chair Mary Petz opened the meeting, and Butch Piepho gave the invocation. Paul Just gave the treasurer’s report, and he lobbied for someone to run for his position, which was up at this meeting. In the end, only his wife, Catherine, agreed to run for treasurer and she was unanimously voted in for the next two years.

Mary Petz was unopposed and agreed to once again serve as the county GOP chair.

A large envelope for donations for the local Basic Political Operating Unit (BPOU) was distributed, and money was collected to help with the 2018 budget.

Petz said much of last year’s budget was spent on advertising, convention fees, and setting up the 2017 Fisherman’s Picnic booth.

Taking up a discussion from last year that was still unresolved, Petz said she had acquired examples of GOP BPOU constitutions and bylaws.

A look back into records said Petz, and a review of what is registered at the state level indicates that Cook County Republicans have never had either a constitution or bylaws. Petz said she would email the examples she had found to those who wished to go over them and then present a finished copy to be discussed at the county’s upcoming March 15 meeting that will be held at the Cook County Community Center. Hopefully, said Petz, at that meeting, a vote will be taken to establish Cook County Republican bylaws and constitution.

Several letters from GOP gubernatorial candidates were read, and then a straw poll was held. Mary Giuliani Stevens and Jeff Johnson each received four votes, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty got three votes, and Keith Downey received two votes. Two ballots were left undecided.

Butch Piepho read a letter from Doug Wardlow, who is running against current DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson for her seat. Swanson has announced she will also run for another four-year term. It’s been 46 years since a Republican was elected attorney general in Minnesota, said Piepho, adding it was about time to choose someone with conservative values in that position.

Once letters had been read, each table formulated resolutions and elected precinct officers to attend the Thursday, March 15 BPU Convention that is scheduled to be held at the Community Center at 7 p.m. At that meeting, delegates will be selected to carry resolutions to the Eighth District Republican Convention that will be held April 9 in Park Rapids. Cook County delegates will also be chosen to attend the State Convention held in May in Duluth. The National Republican Convention will be held July18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Traditional themes once again were threaded through the Standing Platform of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s 11 planks. These included “promoting economic prosperity, restoring and defending civil rights, protecting health care, educating children, strengthen families and communities, protecting public safety, strengthen the rule of law, enjoying and protecting our natural resources, making government smaller and better, and defending America at home and abroad.” Each precinct table wrote one or more resolutions in support of a plank or planks, and those will be carried to the Congressional District Convention where they will be voted on. Should they pass they will be forwarded to the State Convention, and if adopted there, they would be incorporated into the Standing Platform of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Toward the end of the meeting, Paul Just reminded that the political contribution refund program had been reinstated in 2017. Political contributions of $50 for individuals and $100 for couples given to local or state party units or to candidates for office who have a signed agreement with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board would be refunded if the proper paperwork was submitted.


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