Posted at 10:49 PM on June 23, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Republicans in the Minnesota House elected Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove as their new Minority Leader. Zellers defeated Randy Demmer of Hayfield for the slot after four rounds of balloting. He's replacing Marty Seifert, who decided to step down to devote more time to run for governor.
Zellers said he intends to start raising money and recruiting candidates for the 2010 election. He said it's critical to act soon since every member of the Legislature and four constitutional offices are on the ballot.
"It's going to be a very, very competitive market and quite honestly, the next three months are when I'll be working the hardest because that's when a lot of these folks are maybe going to decide not to get in or get in," Zellers said.
Zellers added that House Republicans will "stick to the basics" like limited government and low taxes.
Zellers faces a tall task if he hopes Republicans can retake the House in 2010. DFLers currently hold 87 seats out of the 134 seat chamber but Zellers said his caucus will stick together to protect Governor Pawlenty's vetoes.
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher released a statement congratulating Zellers and said she hoped the two can meet on a weekly basis when the 2010 session begins.
Zellers spoke with reporters after he was elected to the post. You can listen to that gaggle here: