In the Spotlight

News & Features
Election 1996
This is the script of a story aired on MPR news & information stations.

Quist forces still control GOP delegation
Karen Boothe, 5/30/96

Republican Presidential Candidate Bob Dole has called for what HE says is the "fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."

Much of the fight is waged at the grassroots level where the Heart and Soul is defined in party platforms at state conventions. Here in Minnesota, this was apparent in 1994 when Alan Quist won the party's endorsement for Governor at the state Republican Convention but was soundly beaten by Governor Carlson in the primary. Quist's political advancement revealed the battled between the so-called christian right faction of the party, and party moderates.

Where is Quist TODAY? and to what extent will the social and religious conservatives dominate THIS year's convention procedings and endorsement process?

Minnesota Public Radio's Karen-Louise Boothe reports:

Two years ago, Alan Quist, arrived at the State Republican Convention with a campaign theme of, "It's a new Day." He won RESOUNDING support from delegates who gave him the party's nod, but failed to LATER win a majority of the state's republican vote when Arne Carlson claimed a landslide victory.

TODAY...Quist says he's still very much a political presence but says he's deliberately cast himself into the shadows this campaign year to avoid becoming the focus again.

Bite: Quist 2 :19-secs "grassroots image."

Carlson's rationale for not abiding by the endorsement process in 1994 was his belief that the party was controlled by the grassroots Quist speaks of. The social and christian conservatives who Carlson said did not represent the majority of republican voters. Are THIS year's delegates cut from the same cloth?

Alan Quist thinks so:

Bite:Quist 1 :24-secs "inaccurate."

State Party Chairman Chris Georgacas sees things differently. He says this year's state delegates will prove to be HIS kind of Republican. Pragmatic, Diverse, and representative of AT-LARGE republican voters:

Bite:Quist 3 :17-secs "group." Georgacas says more Republicans attended THIS YEAR'S precinct caucuses than in 1994. But he stops short of attributing the moderating forces to a so-called QUIST backlash.

Bite:Quist 4 :20-secs "of the past."

Are this year's state party delegates cut from the same cloth as the social and religious conservative delegates who became the face of the state republican party two years ago? Or, are this year's delegates more reflective of a BROADER range of republicans?

Cal Ludeman, who ran as an I-R Gubernatorial candidate ten years ago, is a delegate in his second district this year. Ludeman says the "QUIST FACTOR" ensured social and religious conservatives got this year's delegate seats despite the high turnout of moderates at the caucuses. Ludeman says he broke into the slate of Quistian forces...but beleives he's going to be in the minority at the convention.

St. Thomas Political Science Professor Nancy Zingale agrees with Ludeman: Bite:Quist 5 :21-secs "later conventions."

Zingale says, the demographics of delegates present a campaign dilemma to candidates. Politicians must campaign in order to appeal to one type of delegate who'll award the party endorsement while not alienating another type of Republican that votes in the Primary.

Bite:Quist 6 :15-secs "to those people."

Zingale says it will be interesting to watch how Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Bert McKasy presents himself at the convention. McKasy's political colleagues describe him as being more moderate than the conservative light he's been casting on his candidacy. McKasy is expected to win the party endorsement over his challenger Rudy Boschwitz, who's decided to make a run for the primary election regardless of the endorsement outcome.

The party's pendulum swings between the rhetoric demanded by delegates at the convention and the at-large Republican voters with eyes on the general election. Where it STOPS could mean the success or failure of the party's candidates, and well as the Republican Party's IMAGE.