MPR Special Coverage: 1976 Minnesota State I-R Convention: DAY 3 - Summary of convention

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A summary report upon completion of the 1976 Minnesota State I-R Convention at St. Paul Civic Center. Collects highlights, including excerpts of interviews, speeches, and a description of events and actions during convention. Report focuses on the battle for delegate selection between Ford and Reagan supporters, Gerald Brekke's senate nomination, and adoption of party platforms.

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Good evening from the Saint Paul Civic Center. This is Bob Potter speaking along with dick daily. Debbie Gage and John Marley the 1976 State independent Republican party convention is now over at adjourned at about 3 this afternoon and and a half hour regularly given to All Things Considered today. We're going to summarize the highlights of this three-day event. This was without doubt. One of the most important state GOP conventions in years the closeness of the presidential race between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan produced Fierce competition for the 18 delegates who were elected to the National Convention in Kansas City. Ronald Reagan felt it important enough to address the convention himself on Friday Betty Ford spoke on behalf of the president. The final result was about as predicted 17 delegates will go to the Kansas City Convention supporting President Ford one will cast his vote for Ronald Reagan the complicated ballot counting process cap delegates here until 3 this morning the talion took about three and a half hours.Even then it wasn't clear if all 18 had been elected on the first ballot former State party. Chairman, Bob Forsyth suggested a way to avoid taking a second ballot. Mister chairman I understand in the 17 of the delegates supporting President Ford have been elected And to clarify who gets the next 18 the two candidates who were next in line where Reagan candidates and for the purpose of eliminating another ballot. It is my understanding that the Reagan people will decide which one of the two will be the 86 delegates to the National Convention. And that's why I'm looking at that microphone number 5 for the announcement from the Reagan committee. Because it's been the youth that is joined with a regen forces and it's been a major force and Mark people represents these youngsters that have come onboard I withdraw and his favor. Message Shannon. Monticello recognize microphone number 3 and Bill of the statement of mr. Mcelhenney, I would like to move that we suspend the rules so that it unanimous ballot can be passed for mr. People as the 18th delegates to the National Convention. Forsyth motion carried, although it was clear than Mark people did have the required majority wants the spoiled ballots were thrown out 53 people altogether softly 18 delegates spots President Ford's organization submitted to slave containing top Party leaders and elected officials. Only one of those persons did not win election as delegate Shirley Hoyt Ronald Reagan supporters nominated a so-called Grassroots late of 18, but they concentrated their efforts on for people helping to maintain sufficient discipline in their ranks to elect them. The strategy was a good one. The four were the top vote-getters among the Reagan candidates, but they simply didn't have enough strength to elect more than one Debbie Gage had a short conversation this afternoon with Reagan delegate Mark people. young people that support Reagan that have been elected by the districts are so a lot of the young ones are all Reagan. scientific basis Why is he an appealing candidate? Volume percent himself while on and television. He's a good television candidate. He's he's hit the stands on the issues. I think are attractive people are our kind of fed up with government. They like somebody go outside and he is Vermont's highest paid job in California in a logically we can do that in the National as well. I have Selena l'astre husband twenty-three-year-old Reagan delegate Mark people the top vote-getter was party chairwoman Carolyn ring with 1181 volts followed closely by Chairman Truck smoking with 1179 Congressman Al quie. The first district was third with 1170 National committeeman Rudy boschwitz had 1164 2nd District Congressman Tom Hagedorn the 1163. The other four delegates are Congressman Bill friends open the Third District state senators, Nancy brought us and George Pillsbury state representative Mary Forsythe and 1/2 levander. I am to levander Dorothy lilligren ft McPherson Carl Merrick Lynn. Nadezhda, Chris Santa and Edie Teigen. There had been frequent reports to Rob three days of the convention of major dissatisfaction on the part of Reagan supporters. There was even some speculation. They might walk out of the proceedings that did not happen and the chairwoman of citizens for Reagan Marcille ear told reporter gauge her feelings about the outcome in the six or eight that we felt we should have had I but I'm I'm really delighted to get the one day there were times when people were saying that this was to know for dominated state that there would be not much support that you wouldn't get any do you think it's a show of strength? Well, I think it's proof that the Grassroots comes through occasionally and we will be going to Kansas City with at least seven delegates for Reagan which is probably seven more than anybody that would come out and so we could possibly have 10 were you treated fairly? What's wrong time to ask me that the citizens for Reagan Marcy Lear party chairman Chuck Slocum publicly stayed neutral throughout the event. Although he was on the Ford slate John really saw his reaction. It's also I think perceived as something of a victory for the citizens for Reagan and getting at least one vote out of the delegates elected here. I think many of them coming in thought they weren't going to get any I felt that the whole process the catharsis we went through was was good for us and I think there by 3 a.m. This morning we were able to feel a lot better that we were doing things slowly and deliberately them in already had a chance to express their views by all issues in contention were carefully debated and a rather discipline Ford majority was able to win the day and I think most people understand in this process a majority minority rule what when I opened the convention on Thursday I said we're going to have to leave here on Saturday committed to win and we're going to have to see that Minority Rights on issues and candidates are we are allowed to be expressed but majority will as exercise and I feel the conventions been fair and I feel that each has a little bit to go home on and that's what I well for definitely has more than a little bit to go home. I want an end. That's what I was concerned about. The stage was set for the Ford Victory Thursday afternoon and evening when rules governing the election of delegates were adopted originally the rules committee favor single ballot with the top 18-volt gutters being elected President Ford supporters, knowing that about 55% of the delegates favored his nomination succeeded in changing the rules require that each National Deli get the elected by a majority of the State Convention a tie vote in the rules committee was broken by the chairman and the lengthy debate occurred on the floor Thursday night Reagan supported Jerry Arnold argued against majority vote the majority positions. Do not need any protection. just like just like our Constitution and in the year of the bicentennial it would be a sad state. To go back and deny individual rights and minority rights, which have always been enjoyed by Republicans in Minnesota. Death in my vest convention apparently says put it together. If we don't pass the minority rule it ought to be changed to take it apart. Thank you. Reagan supporters charge that the plurality vote rule used in previous convention was being changed for the president's political Advantage Ford supporters. So a different late Congressman Bill frenzel. It is not unusual roll. It's a test that was applied by 7 of the 8th congressional district, and it seems to me that this convention should apply the same test to its delegates at the congressional districts applied to theirs and we should not send last qualified or less attractive candidate or are delegates to the National Convention. This is not a question of fairness. There's not a right to this thing. We are proposing and we are going to make a determination on a rule. Both of the rules are fair. The question here is representativeness. We want to elect people to represent us in Kansas City that are the Clear Choice of this convention stick with a majority report. The majority rule was adopted but by less than 90 volts Reagan showed considerable strikes in layout State areas Ramsey County and some Twin Cities suburbs. In fact had it not been for Ford's overwhelming strength in Hennepin County. The majority rule would have lost a similar bolt pattern emerged in the presidential straw ballot which Ford 150 7% 2:43 today the entire Ford slate of alternate delegates to the Kansas City convention was elected another major order of business at this 1976 State IR convention was the endorsement of a Senate candidate to oppose Hubert Humphrey after some weak opposition by candidate B Mooney the convention unanimously endorsed Gustavus, Adolphus College Professor Gerald brekkie. He was nominated by national committeeman Rudy boschwitz what himself like to be a senator someday, but who did not want to take on the virtually impossible task of challenging Hubert Humphrey this year in fact Bosch which is actually in admirer of Humphrey today, however, he had some harsh words for what he called Humphreys liabilities. a new low that would double the size of the federal budget. And yes, he pays his own deaths at $0.04 a little less than $0.04 on the dollar here is a man whose campaign manager has been convicted by a jury of twelve men and women of a crime of a felony here is a man who former press assistant has been convicted of the crime of accepting corporate contributions to pay some of the jest. That's that Hubert Humphrey Road for his campaign here is a man that some question about whether Hubert accept $50,000 in the backseat of a car that it was owned by Hubert. I buy a Howard Hughes and finally if you read the papers and if you've read Newsweek and time, you know that there's a certain young lady in Washington by the name of Elizabeth Elizabeth gray who claims that she knows the senator intimately National committeeman Rudy boschwitz. Brekke said his candidacy will offer people of the state or referendum on the types of spending programs supported by Senator Humphrey brekke also showed in his address to the convention that he wasn't afraid of tackling controversial issues. You asked me what my position was on abortion. You should see it right here. I'm pro-life and if you want to see some of my family and so on. I like to introduce them to you up here to ask me about gun control. I don't mind telling you about gun control. I'm not much for guns myself. but I don't think that gun control is going to do much to control the criminal element. And I think we should have some mandatory sentences very severe ones were people who use guns in the commission of crime. You asked me about era. Do I support the Equal Rights Amendment? I haven't quite made up my mind on that but I'll tell you this much right at the moment. I favorite and I'm going to tell you why. I spent nearly three years overseas as it is a soldier defending this country. And I was married overseas. And my wife has got four and a half years in the military service. I only had three and something you say when I don't want my daughter to be in the service. Let me tell you when you get into a situation where country is fighting for its life. It's everyone else got to do their part and I am proud of women that stand up. You asked me what my position on a mandatory busing was my position is it's a bunch of bunk. My time is going to run out and I'm I'm going to have to try to finish up as quickly as I can. I don't know if I've answered all your questions answer, but if I haven't you'll find me here. I'm not afraid to answer them Senate candidate Gerald brekkie Hussein controversial issues were dealt with by the entire Convention as well dick. Well Bob the IR convention did manage to deal with most of its platform or actually rather efficiently in the reason it was able to do so is that all of the really controversial issues had been separated out and put on a straw ballot which would however the vote turned out not become part of the party platform, but within to be a sense of the party on er a gun control the the Metropolitan Sports stadium and other controversial issues, there were at various times during this convention process attempts made from the floor to get some of these controversial issues debated, but in all cases that did not succeed. And they did to stay on the Stout straw ballot. And that's the only way in which they were handled. There was however an item which did not appear in the straw ballot process, which was not thought to be that controversial which really turned out to be so it had to do with the whole question of regional development commissions. The a proposed a platform language said, we decry the bureaucratic mismanagement of the regional development commissions and support efforts to make planning more responsible and ask the local government issues development committee to develop the Positive Solutions on that question. However in last night's session number of delegates particularly representing rural parts of Minnesota where most unhappy about that, they wanted a stronger Plank and proposed from the floor this wording Regional development commissions represent an additional layer of government bureaucracy that threatens to usurp the existing power of local government. The Minnesota independent Republican party supports legislation to permit counties by majority vote of its residents to withdraw from the regional development councils and after a long debate in which former governor levander was forced to defend the party playing on the basis that after all regional development commissions were first created under a Republican state Administration and a republican-controlled state legislature. It was decided to make that part of the controversial issues straw ballot as well. And when the vote finally was announced today, in fact, the stronger language against Regional development commission, which would permit counties to withdraw from the commission's and in fact it destroy them by so doing was adopted by the rather large margin of 952 volts to 655 as to how the other straw ballot issues came out here is convention chairman John move. What's the reference to the issues? Equal Rights Amendment forestation 1020 against rescission 558 Not sure 93. on a sports Stadium favorable 332 against 1203 not sure 125 abortion for the amendment 782 against the amendment 836 not sure 72. gun control approval of the registration of handguns 119 against Banning Saturday night specials 262 opposed to registration but favor some restrictions on ownership of firearms 257 the gun control legislation 722 So Minnesota Indian Tree independent Republicans went about two to one against resending the Equal Rights Amendment. They are heavily against a new Metropolitan Area sports Stadium. They were barely against amending the US Constitution on the abortion question. They were heavily against gun control and as we indicated earlier, they adopted a a strong stand on the regional Development question and unlike the other straw ballot questions. That one will become part of the official party platform Debbie Gage during the three long days here has a from time to time been following the platform deliberations Debbie. What do you see as the most notable things that the independent Republican party has taken a stand on. There is one particular section that should be mentioned because it's very interesting and although it was passed without any controversy. I think it is indicative of how the Republicans feel about the way the state should be run. One of those planks is sunset legislation, which party chairman Chuck Slocum has been pushing for very heavily that would provide for the automatic termination of all new programs calling for expenditure of money within 6 years would also require All State programs and state agencies to adopt program budgeting to justify themselves. Every two years. The Republicans would like to see a biennial legislature and reduce the size of the legislature for years. They felt that the legislature has been getting too big and too professional in the ordinary citizens have been shut out as far as legislative internal operations goal. They would like to see the creation of a joint legislative budget committee rather than having separate committees in the Senate and House in order to facilitate budgeting. They would like to see major Appropriations bills passed only in odd-numbered years and they would also like to change the method of financing to put a time limit on bills. This whole system I'd say Debbie of separating out the controversial issues letting the delegates discussed to some degree the less controversial ones and adopt the planks and then ballot on the the really hot issues worked out pretty well here. I think it did there were some complaints in the beginning that these controversial issues would not be discussed. But but I think since the Republicans got through their platform in the Democrats didn't get all their convention not it does show that it was more efficient as possible one controversial issue that did not get before the floor. It was part of the party platform and it was adopted as such but I never was debated here was the whole question of Reserve mining milepost 7 people from the northeastern Minnesota area attempted to bring it up a couple of times. They they lost out in all instances and that we wondered this morning much of this happening last night and during the early morning hours if the people from that area might be unhappy or how party chairman Chuck slow. Felt about the whole questions and see you've been most critical dfl Governor Anderson in the Republican convention for not dealing better with the milepost 7 question. Here's what's welcome told John merli about that. Anybody should be privy in anybody should have a position. It should be the state Administration which is controlled the councils of government for 6 years and been unable to even do anything. But equivocate on the issue. Our party is not certain of the facts not as close to the issue. I think that the people that came down from Silver Bay in our friends who are Party activist up their feel that we give a fair hearing and that our platform committee was sympathetic to their cause I think that they're just an uncertainty on the minds of the delegates out there on the issue there because they're not as familiar, but it was cut off from the chair before they even got to get into it at all. I would have to double-check the Parliamentary maneuvering there because I was otherwise disposed running around as party chairman tend to do with steak and But I guess my point is that if we had had a governor sitting in for 6 years during this controversy, I'm confident that 3 years ago. Our party would have had a position or our governor would have had a position in this issue would be solved if Chuck Slocum the party chairman was fairly well satisfied with how the IR convention dealt with a milepost 7 issue. We thought perhaps the people from Northeastern Minnesota would not be it was a delegate named Clinton Maxwell from Lake County. He in fact works for Reserve mining who at in a couple of occasions Pride to get the issue before the house. He failed but again told John merely that he was satisfied with the platform plank as adopted and he read it for John this convention adopted a strong blank. and their platform that is a independent Republican convention and the it's already part of it for the confusion the contradictions in vacillations and they lack of leadership of a state Administration and seeking a timely solution to problems of online disposal of taconite tailings ending the discharge into the lake and construction of on land disposal facilities should be under way. Now, we believe the jobs of those people can and should be preserved and believe that adequate Environmental Protections can be provided consistent with this objective. That was a blank has adopted. What about the way the convention kind of screwed over the issue Ashley John? That's that's what you might say. The way the cookie crumbles that was he the feeling of the convention at 1 last night or this morning. They were tired. They were waiting on the vote on their delegates and each item. I was brought up for the platform last night. I was going to modify it and to insert the alarm for 7, so that would be more closely identified. But the convention was not in the mood to make any changes on any of the portion of the platform. And so they did not act on this specifically. They just voted not to change the rules. So I was not able to speak to Convention and I see that just part of the way things work at conventions. You don't always get a chance to do what you want love Lake County Minnesota wearing a big milepost 7 badge and he apparently did not go away mad from this Minnesota independent Republican convention is so many thousands had from the dfl Gathering a couple of weeks ago up in Duluth. Well this whole process as we've said over and over has taken a long long time from when the convention first convened at about 3 on Thursday afternoon about Potter. It's been in session almost constantly. It seems we've certainly spent many many hour. Here in the Civic Center you particularly were here until the wee wee hours of the morning with these delegates. What was it? Like? Well, it really was was quite wild the session yesterday was a very long one about 17 hours got started at 9:30 in the morning and didn't end till 3:15. They took the ballot. They did the actual voting on the national convention delegates at about 10 last night. Then it took between 10 until 3 approximately to get those votes counted in between they were kind of party platform. There were several suggestions that the Gathering adjourn early that the party platform discussion end, but convention chairman John Moody push the delegates ahead and they got that platform done and we saw a mixture of anger and satisfaction on Moody's Parton on the delegates part, so I don't remember to and some good humor all through. That tell that 5r. At this time until tomorrow morning at the designated hours signify by saying hi. Those opposed no. Are still here? Now mister chairman as long as we are going to be remaining in this conventional off for a while. I would like to make a motion that everybody receive a free cup of coffee. I suppose I could be a republican enough and ask who's going to pay for it, but I suppose okay microphone number for airplanes around that have sharp points know somebody's going to get hit. No, I don't want anybody hurt cut out that airplane throwing right now. The debate on the platform finally ended all together at about 2, and then there was about an hour while they waited for the result of the vote to be announced a bit of a spontaneous program began led by some people on the podium. There was people leaving the group and songs that were some calisthenics a brief game of tag and even a recitation from Teahouse of the August Moon the whole procedure certainly tended to debunk the old method Republicans are stuffy and don't have much fun at their conventions. people want to do Mickey Mouse toga Mi t m i c k e d Family Nails Mickey Mouse forever let us hold our Banner high high high high come along and sing a song and join us. Forever that I told her better. Some of the less serious activity during what really turned out to be a very serious very productive 1976 State Convention for the newly-named Minnesota independent Republican party with colleagues Bob Potter Debbie Gage technician David felon, and with in for Kate to Williams and John merli who have been with us throughout this convention coverage live portions of which have been made possible with funds provided by the Minneapolis Star from the Saint Paul Convention Center. This is Dick Dale. Okay, let's say it with me check check call back hands on your head. Come on you guys. How about if you're happy and you know it clap your hands that's got answers, I don't know How about if you're happy and you know it clap your hands you must know that one if you're happy and you know it clap your hands if you're happy and you know it clap your hands If you're happy, and you know it then your face. And these are the listener-supported Stations of Minnesota Public Radio.

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