GOP declines to endorse Loon; same-sex marriage vote cited

Republican delegates on Saturday declined to endorse state Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, who was one of four House Republicans who voted in favor of same-sex marriage.

The Minnesota Family Council claimed victory in a press release after the convention delegates in Eden Prairie decided not to endorse anyone for the 48B District race.

"Minnesotans sent a powerful message to politicians today by refusing to endorse a Republican incumbent who is also part of the party's leadership," John Helmberger, CEO of Minnesota Family Council, said in a written statement. "Life, marriage, and religious freedom are values for which there is no compromise."

Last month, Rep. David FitzSimmons, R-Albertville, conceded the endorsement in his 30B District to Eric Lucero, who had harshly criticized FitzSimmons' vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The other two Republicans who voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage were Reps. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, and Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury. Garofalo easily won party endorsement last month and Kieffer is not seeking re-election.

Loon said she had no announced opponent in the race until Saturday morning. After speeches and a few rounds of balloting, someone made a motion to not endorse anyone in the race, she said.

"That's the motion that prevailed," Loon said in an interview with MPR News. "I look at it as having had a good discussion in my local party House district with the delegates and the people who were very engaged talking about the future of our party. I think we all agree that there's much at stake."

Loon said she plans to run in the primary. "I look forward to earning my party's support," she said.

Loon said her vote in favor of same-sex marriage was a factor in the endorsement process but said she doesn't regret her vote.

"I respect the fact that it's a very sensitive and can be a very divisive issue," she said. "I respect folks who disagree with my vote and I just think as we're looking toward an election, there's many other issues that we need to be keeping our eye on."

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