Parties hold caucuses Tuesday

Area GOP favors Jeff Johnson

Photo by Jody Isaackson Deanna Coudron and Lyon County Republican Chair Deb Clark counted straw ballots from each ward Tuesday night during the Republican caucus.

MARSHALL — Of the 68 straw ballots cast at four Republican caucus sites across Lyon County Tuesday night, Jeff Johnson received 24 votes to win his preliminary bid for the governorship of Minnesota.

Other Republicans receiving support were Philip Parish with 14 straw votes, Mary G. Stephens with 12 and Keith Downey with 9. Tim Pawlenty drew seven write-in votes. There were two voters marking “undecided.” Lance Johnson received no votes.

“I don’t know if it was the weather that kept voters away or what,” former state senator Arlene Lesewski of Marshall said, “but I’m very disappointed in the turnout. It is so important for people to show up for caucuses. This is a government ‘for the people, of the people and by the people.'”

In the past, it was common to average 150-180 attendees across Lyon County, she said.

Lesewski and other Marshall Republicans were remembering the massive turnout in 2016 with the presidential election on the line. There were over 500 Republicans just at the Marshall site, one attendee said.

Active Republican Party member and Marshall area resident Deanna Coudron wasn’t happy about the turnout either.

“I think the people think that if they hide, the turmoil (between parties) will go away,” Coudron said. “To my disgust, (some) candidates lie, lie, lie and get by with it. People believe them. I’ve never seen people show such open hatred toward our presidents (in the past). It’s appalling behavior. We need to educate people that we don’t need to act that way.

“Also, I think we have to have leaders who see us — rural residents — and know what we do,” she said.

Retired Chaplain Tom Chopp was also at the Republican caucus. He was disappointed in the low turnout but was optimistic that when all the precincts were accounted for, the numbers would rise.

“When you bring them all together, it makes me feel good,” Chopp said. “It’s not just this group being counted.”

Chopp said he was shying away from “political professionals.”

“Trump is not polished,” he said. “He’s not rehearsed. I think that’s what the average American citizen is thinking and wanting.”

He agreed with a book title that he mentioned, “Let Trump Be Trump.”

Chopp was among the volunteers who read campaign letters from the candidates prior to the large group dividing up for ward meetings where they also elected delegates and alternates for upcoming conventions.