The elections for the party officers of the Republican Party of Minnesota are this Saturday and the races are starting to heat-up.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Keith Downey is running for re-election. Bill Jungbauer, the former chair of the 2nd Congressional District Republicans, is also a candidate.
Republicans following the elections are speculating that additional candidates may run for chair.
Chris Fields, who serves as the Deputy Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, is running unopposed for re-election. While Fields has no announced challenger, supporters of Downey’s campaign are trying to find a candidate to run against him, amid questions about who Fields is supporting for chair.
Last evening, Fields sent out an e-mail last evening responding to claims he is supporting a candidate for chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. In his e-mail, Fields noted he has not endorsed, nor is he supporting a candidate for chair on Saturday.
Fields acknowledged he provided Jungbauer with an updated list of delegates and alternates to Saturday’s meeting – a list which is available to all candidates running for party officer. Jungbauer had expressed concerns to Fields about requesting the list from Republican Party of Minnesota Political Director Matt Pagano, as he has been working for Downey’s campaign.
In a statement to politics.mn in February, Pagano confirmed he was assisting Downey’s re-election campaign. After Downey announced his intention to seek re-election, Pagano said “I went out of my way to ask him how I could volunteer my efforts to help [his campaign].” Pagano added that his work for Downey’s campaign was done “outside of working hours and without compensation as a volunteer.”
There is no party rule requiring party staff to remain neutral in party officer elections. Fields said he assisted in Jungbauer in receiving the list to ensure party elections “will not be stained by accusations and allegations of unfairness.”
The party elections will occur Saturday at the Republican Party of Minnesota State Central Committee meeting at Olson Middle School in Bloomington. As always, please check back to politics.mn for additional information.