Former GOP party chair forms political fund

Republican legislative candidates can rely on support from yet another political fund this election year.

Minnesotans for Conservative Leadership was created this week by long-time GOP operative and former Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Pat Shortridge. He said the group's primary mission is to "promote and defend Minnesota's first rate conservative legislative leaders and encourage similar leadership from members of the Legislature and candidates."

What does Shortridge mean by that?

First off, it means not penalizing conservative lawmakers over a single vote or a single issue.

"At times we're going to have internal disagreements in the family, we're going to come to a different conclusion on particular issues. Does it make sense to sacrifice a great conservative and a great leader, someone who has done a ton for the party over one vote or one issue?" Shortridge said.

"We don't believe that's how you build a long-term conservative majority," he said.

Gain a Better Understanding of Today

MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.

He pointed to two recent instances where incumbent  Republicans failed to win their party's endorsement over a vote they cast in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. One of them, Rep. David FitzSimmons, R-Albertville, ended his re-election bid for the state House 

but has more recently said that he may run in a primary.

and told MPR News that he is not planning to run in the primary, either.

The other, Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prarie, is still running even though delegates at her district convention didn't endorse any candidate.

Shortridge said his group will start by focusing on a few key legislative districts, and that the list may grow throughout the year. Shortridge is also working for gubernatorial GOP candidate Scott Honour, which precludes the group from weighing in on the governor's race.

Aside from public affairs executive Lonny Leitner, who is serving as the group's treasurer, Shortridge wouldn't say who else is involved in the group or who its donors are.