MNGOP Rep. Urdahl, under fire for pro-stadium vote, shouts down fellow GOPers


The Vikings stadium issue has been a rough one for Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City.

First, he was blasted by pro-stadium Strib columnist Jim Souhan for being "no smarter than the guy who writes in the comments section of an online newspaper, 'your stupid.'" Problem was, Souhan was bashing Urdahl for being anti-stadium, when in fact he had voted in favor of Zygi-land during the House committee meeting in question.

Then, on Monday, the Meeker County Republican Executive Committee held a special meeting to discuss whether to withdraw the party's endorsement from Urdahl, who again voted in favor of the stadium bill when it reached the House floor. Some Republicans believe "publicly funding a billionaire's private company is a violation of the fundamental principles of the GOP."

The Monday meeting devolved into quite the spectacle. Trying to explain himself in front of a roomful of angry Republicans, the Litchfield Independent Review reports that Urdahl had to stand and shout to make himself heard.

From the Review's report:

The Vikings stadium has proven to be a divisive issue for the MNGOP, as evidenced by this Facebook page.
The Vikings stadium has proven to be a divisive issue for the MNGOP, as evidenced by this Facebook page.

While standing, Urdahl slammed his hands on a table as he chastised fellow Republicans for calling Monday's meeting to consider whether to withdraw the party's endorsement for Urdahl. Urdahl told the group that "all the things you cry for" would have been sacrificed if he and other Republicans had failed to pass the stadium bill.

"This was a vote to help preserve our majority," Urdahl said.

At the end of his speech, Urdahl crumbled a piece of paper containing prepared remarks and threw it in the direction of [anti-stadium] State Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. Showing an expression of dejection, Urdahl then sat down in a chair.

After the meeting, Newman joked that he "ducked" out of the way of the flying paper. "He's just frustrated," Newman said. "We're all a little frustrated. It was just a contentious session."

Newman described Urdahl's outburst as out of character. "I have not seen him act like that, ever," Newman said.

Though the Meeker County Republicans ultimately decided against supporting a move to revoke Urdahl's endorsement, Monday night's fiasco illustrates why the party endorsement process has come under fire from legislators like John Kriesel, a retiring MNGOP Representative from Cottage Grove. During an appearance on Dan Barreiro's KFAN radio show Tuesday, Kriesel lamented that in order to secure an endorsement from party delegates, legislators on both sides of the aisle are coerced into taking extreme policy positions that alienate comparatively moderate, independent voters.

As Urdahl explained to the West Central Tribune before Monday night's meeting, those calling for his un-endorsement are a small minority in the party.

"And you take one step off the path you think you should be on, and they attack," he said.

See also:
-- Jim Souhan, Star Tribune columnist, savaged for "lazy journalism" in Star Tribune op/ed

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