From MPR's Mark Zdechlik in Mankato:
Republican party delegates in southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District Saturday endorsed State Rep. Randy Demmer to run against two-tier DFL Rep. Tim Walz.
The endorsement came late Saturday afternoon in Mankato where 1st District Republicans held their convention at Minnesota State University.
Demmer's endorsement came after eight ballots. The endorsement ended up being a battle between Demmer and former state Rep. Allen Quist and ended with Quist's withdrawal.
Also vying for the endorsement of the roughly 250 delegates were Jim Hagedorn and Jim Engstrand.
Randy Demmer, who's in his forth legislative term, argues he's a perfect fit for the first district because of his background as a farmer, a small business owner and a school board member.
Demmer accused Walz of being in lock step with national Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said he's totally committed to defeating Walz.
"We know that Tim Walz is working with Nancy Pelosi, he's right there with her doing everything that she beckons him to do. That is not representation for the 1st District of Minnesota," Demmer said.
Demmer promised delegates he would run an "issues-based" campaign.
A political analyst in the 1st District says toppling Walz will not be easy, even if the tide in 2010 ends up favoring Republicans.
In 2008 Walz won with more than 60 percent of the vote. Walz has already raised more than $ 1 million for his 2010 campaign.
"After 6 months of negative campaigning, we are very interested in finally hearing state Rep. Demmer's ideas to solve the immense challenges we face," said Walz's campaign manager Richard Carlbom.
"We are going to continue running our campaign on Tim's record of effective service for southern Minnesota. Tim has delivered for our businesses on main street while holding Wall Street accountable, delivered for our veterans by working to ensure they receive the benefits they have earned, delivered for middle class families with the largest tax cut in history and delivered for students by making sure college is more affordable. Folks in southern Minnesota know Tim works for them."
Governor Pawlenty called for an "Economic Bill of Rights" today as he courted fiscal conservatives in Iowa. Pawlenty stuck to many of his main talking points when he spoke to the conservative Iowans for Tax Relief and reiterated his concern that the federal deficit is skyrocketing. He said his so-called Economic Bill of Rights would require a federal balanced budget and line-item veto authority for the President of the United States.
"As a governor who holds the single season record with the most vetoes ever issued in the history state of Minnesota," Pawlenty said. "I have a particular appreciation for the power of the line-item veto. I also think we should have a Congress be required to have a super majority before they can either raise taxes or raise the debt ceiling in this country."
Pawlenty also touted his record of keeping taxes low during his time as governor. (Full speech here: Listen).
DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez told reporters before Pawlenty's speech that Pawlenty shouldn't be touting his economic philosophy.
"We are struggling with massively and historic high budget deficits," Melendez said. "We are struggling with high levels of unemployment. Whatever Tim Pawlenty's economic strategy has been, if he claims to have one, it's been a failure."
This is Pawlenty's second trip to Iowa since he announced last June that he wasn't seeking a third term as governor. He hasn't ruled out a run for president and has been travelling the country to raise his profile and help elect Republicans to Congress. His next publicly known out of state trip is next week. He's scheduled to keynote the Washington State GOP Dinner on April 24th.
(Thanks to Iowa Public Radio's Joyce Russell for supplying the audio)
Update: FDR offered an Economic Bill of Rights in the 1940s.