Dahlberg, McFadden left after 5th round of balloting

The race for the Republican Senate endorsement is down to two candidates.

Mike McFadden greets delegates after a long endorsement battle for U.S. Senate. <emTom Scheck/MPR News

On the fifth ballot Chris Dahlberg had 44 percent of the vote, and Mike McFadden had 34.5 percent.

State Sen. Julianne Ortman, who was initially considered a strong candidate for the endorsement after winning a statewide GOP straw poll earlier in the year, was forced to drop out because she only got 19 percent of the vote. The fifth ballot required 20 percent of the vote to stay in.

It takes 60 percent to win the endorsement.

Ortman left the Rochester Civic Center after a short speech and did not ask her delegates to support Dahlberg or McFadden.

Now the question is how Ortman's delegates will divide between Dahlberg and McFadden.

"I was the first candidate who said I will abide by the endorsement," Dahlberg told the crowd. "I will honor that decision and I respect you."

McFadden also implored delegates for their support, but says he will compete in the primary even if he doesn't get it.

"As long as I believe I'm the best candidate to beat Al Franken, I will stay in the race," McFadden told delegates.

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