Keith Downey, Chris Fields win Republican party spots

Keith Downey, Chris Fields win Republican party spots
Kelly Fenton was also re-elected to deputy party chair.

Former state representative and businessman Keith Downey handily beat out three others for Minnesota's Republican Party chair spot Saturday.

Downey was first elected to the House in 2008, succeeding longtime Republican representative and "Override Six" member Ron Erhardt. He was re-elected in 2010, and lost a Senate bid to Melisa Franzen last fall in the most expensive legislative race in Minnesota history.

Downey lists dead guys as supporters in newspaper ad
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With a party debt in the neighborhood of $1.7 million, Downey will have his work cut out for him. He's a business-minded guy, and touts his consultant experience in his "common sense, concrete plan to turn our party and our state around." As a lawmaker, Downey was an ardent supporter of a controversial push to make Minnesota a right-to-work state.

From a 2012 op/ed authored by Downey:

Not only is right-to-work fair, not only is it good for workers, not only is it healthy for unions, but it also sits at the center of our cherished values of freedom of conscience and free association in the marketplace. This most basic economic liberty is a centerpiece of a free society.

So why would anyone oppose allowing Minnesotans to vote on right-to-work? Do not believe the opponents' ghost stories. They aren't true, and their only purpose is to scare you.

Chris Fields also won a party secretary position Saturday. Fields ran a doomed campaign against Congressman Keith Ellison last fall in what turned out to be a pretty ugly (but frequently entertaining) race. Kelly Fenton was re-elected as party deputy chair.

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