The GOP convention in Rochester is over (finally) and it is time to review who came out a winner and who didn't.
Hero- Phillip Parrish
Parrish needed an extension to qualify to speak to the convention in his dark horse run for the Senate nod. A virtual unknown to the delegates, Parrish came on the stage and wowed the convention with an unscripted but impassioned speech about the issues facing America. Parrish was briefly in the position of kingmaker, courted by all the other candidates to throw his support to them.
Goat- David Carlson
After getting late notification of the delegate petition requirements (my fault), Carlson tried to parlay an innocent mistake into a media buzz over an alleged conspiracy. Carlson, who ran for Senate in 2012 and did well in the primary against endorsed Kurt Bills, claimed that the required signatures of 2% of the convention delegates was an imposition and would be a burden to his campaign (a claim squarely disproved by Parrish). Carlson spent the weekend posting snarky tweets encouraging a deadlocked endorsement, only to wind up with a McFadden endorsement. The Senate primary now becomes McFadden and some also rans, and I would be surprised if Carlson gets 10% of the vote total he enjoyed in 2014.
No surprise to anyone who knew him, but Thompson delivered a clarion call to party unity and humility with his concession speech. He gave the requisite thank you's to his family and supporters, but spent the bulk of his time talking about the importance of the endorsement process and even challenged those headed to a primary to think twice about their choice. He ended with a request, not an order, for his supporters to cast their next vote for Jeff Johnson. Thompson will be long remembered as a man of principle and dignity, especially after his speech was followed by...
Goat- Marty Siefert
There is a raging debate going over whether Marty was justified in trying to use a parliamentary trick to his advantage, or exposed as egocentric for a very obvious effort to thwart the endorsement process. If Marty had simply wanted to end the convention knowing he couldn't win, he could have withdrawn from the endorsement contest. That would have left him free to run in the primary, since he never agreed to be held to the endorsement anyways. Instead, Siefert's attempt to deny a quorum meant that over 1000 delegates who were already tired from a long weekend, had to sit thru another ballot to make Jeff Johnson's endorsement official. Maybe we would be calling Marty smart and shrewd if his plan had worked, but in such a dramatic failure, Siefert is now persona non grata to hundreds of activists that had formed the only hope for him in a primary.
Hero- Rob Farnsworth
A political unknown and hardly a stereotypical Republican, Rob was never truly listed as a contender for the governor's race. But given the chance to speak, he gave a moving tribute to the emotional issues that fire up much of the Republican base. A union member and a teacher, Rob now has enough name recognition and activist support inside the party to run for a county commissioner seat or mayor's office. He probably isn't ready for higher office yet, but his work over the last none months has positioned him for whatever local office he wants to pursue.
Goat- Bonn Clayton
The number one political issue in Bonn's world is getting Republican judges elected to state courts. It's a nice theoretical idea (although one that I oppose) but the reality is that the state has little resources to devote to getting judges elected, especially when you consider the party's 0% track record for judges over the last decade. The delegates know this, which is why Bonn had to fight tooth and nail to have judicial endorsements be considered at the convention. Another election cycle without a victory will likely mean the end of any momentum for endorsing judges in the GOP.