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Sutton

Sutton

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Published by tom_scheck

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Published by: tom_scheck on Dec 02, 2011
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12/03/2011

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Dear Republican Leader,I cannot tell you how happy I was to see the budget surplus projection this week. This isclear evidence that the budget fight and government shutdown was worth it to help getMinnesota moving in the right direction.However, that is not why am writing you this letter.I am writing to you because I have decided to resign as State Chair of the Republican of Minnesota effective at 5:00 PM today.Being State Chair has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I havemade many new friends, and seen and done some amazing things as State Chairman. Ialso have a great sense of accomplishment with the election victories we achieved in2010. I truly feel that we have made a difference these past two and a half years (again,the recent budget surplus announcement is proof positive of that).I had decided to run for re-election last April because I felt I had more service to offer tothe Party. However, the last several months have shown me that being State Chair hastaken too much away from my family, and is taking too big a toll on me personally. Ihave worked for the Republican cause my entire adult life. I have made tremendous personal and professional sacrifices to the detriment of my family. I cannot continue todo this.In 2009 I was elected state chair with the promise that we were going to do more to winelections. We were going to build better lists, have a better portal for accessing thoselists, more staff to support our candidates and build up the Party infrastructure.In fact, we accomplished a lot of those things. We made significant strides toward our goal of electing more Republicans. These strides were made possible by providingsupport for candidates and building up the Party infrastructure.For the first time in modern history, Republicans took control of both the MinnesotaHouse and Senate – with more than 100,000 vote margins statewide. The Party played amajor role in helping these election victories through candidate recruitment, candidatetraining, voter ID, candidate support through our field operation, Project Phoenix, andfinally voter persuasion and voter turn-out through our direct mail and get-out-the-voteoperations.Our Congressional incumbents were re-elected with comfortable margins: Rep. Erik Paulsen, Rep. John Kline and Rep. Michele Bachmann all won handily on November 2.In a historic victory, Rep.-Elect Chip Cravaack defeated 36-year incumbent Jim Oberstar in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. The State Party was able to do additional mailin the 1st and 8th Congressional District races, as well as fully funded coordinatedcampaign expenditures for television ads in the 8th District victory.
 
We built up the candidate support and party infrastructure. Voter ID was one of our top priorities, and major progress was made through Project Phoenix. We had an amazingGOTV effort and were able to make 1.5 million calls to remind people to go vote for their Republican endorsed candidates. We mailed out 550,000 absentee ballot applications, aswell as 750,000 sample ballots. We also invested in our own VOIP (voice over IP)system, enabling our BPOUs and Congressional Districts to make these calls at no cost tothem.We put a field director in every congressional district to work with local party officials inthe implementation of Party programs as well as working with our endorsed candidates.In addition, we had a special field operation devoted to the statewide candidates. TheState Party paid for thousands of signs for our statewide team and coordinated thedistribution of the signs. Our field operation also coordinated candidate travel andorganized dozens of rallies and media events throughout the state. We encouragedBPOUs to open local offices and worked with them to enable this, resulting in a recordnumber of GOP offices across the state.For the first time the Party put serious resources into supporting our endorsed judicialcandidates. Judicial candidates were in included in media events and rallies with the restof the ticket. In addition, they were also included in GOTV activities.The State Party did over 275 independent expenditure mailings in the legislative races.The Party also did two flights of television advertising for Tom Emmer’s campaign for governor and one flight of radio for the remaining constitutional officers’ campaigns. TheState Party conducted a billboard campaign for Tom Emmer as well as anti-Dayton billboards.We established our own database (Project Phoenix) with more than double the number of users than Voter Vault. Due to extensive trainings and the easy-to-use format, we alsohad higher usage from our users. This new system was instrumental in gaining themajorities and will continue to be an important Party asset for the future.We held numerous comprehensive candidate schools that included expert speakers on avariety of subjects as well as more specific training sessions on dealing with press, usingsocial media and using our new Phoenix system effectively in their campaigns.2010 was a record year for major donor fundraising, eclipsing the record set in 1998. TheElephant Club has been built up over the past 18-months to more than 300 members. Wehave monthly meetings with impressive speakers and a large crowd with yearly renewals.In fact, I raised more from major donors in a 24 month period than any previous statechair (since I became state chair we have raised $4.9 million from major donors).We had an outstanding ballot security program, recruiting the highest number of election judges and poll challengers that we have ever had.
 
Learning from lessons of the past, the State Convention was open and fair. ConventionCommittees were open and accessible. The Platform process allowed for unlimiteddebate and no time limits were placed on the convention. The convention ended in a positive and unifying manner. The process for nominating candidates and nationaldelegates was reformed so that the delegates decide who to nominate instead of anominating committee. The Platform was re-written and re-formatted to be moreunderstandable and reader-friendly.I ran for re-election as State Chair hoping I could remain an unpaid Chairman. I startedmy own public affairs company and hoped to be able to continue in an unpaid capacity.However, after concerns were raised, I decided to avoid even the appearance of a conflictof interest and mothballed my company. Because of that I had to ask the Party for asalary. Frankly, anything less than someone willing to devote full time to being StateChair would be difficult at best in this fund raising environment.I have always put politics first in my life and rationalized it by thinking I was doing thisfor the greater good. My four-year old daughter came to me a couple of weeks ago andsaid she feels like she doesn’t have a father anymore because I am gone so much. We allmake sacrifices for the Party – however, I feel I have made more than my fair share. Now it is time for others to step up and to serve.As you know, the “Monday morning quarterbacks” always have the right answers inhindsight. However, as State Chair I did what I thought was in the best interest of theParty and to win elections.Looking back I have only three real regrets.#1 – We probably geared up too quickly for the 2010 elections. I was anticipating the business community being more excited about the Governor’s race; unfortunately theywere not as excited about it as we had hoped. I thought we could make up for the loss of revenue from the loss of the political contribution refund program with more major donor contributions, especially in light of the importance of the Governor’s race. While we didraise a record amount of major donor money in 2010 ($3.3 million), we were still short of the goal for major donors ($4 million).Once the money did begin to come later in the summer, rather than pay old bills I decidedto push money towards the elections. I could have easily spent less on independentexpenditures for the legislative elections or the governor’s race. For example, we spent$80K on television ads for Chip Cravaack – we could have just not have done that andnobody would have known. In short, we could have done less and had fewer bills (or  perhaps no bills at all); however, I thought it was critical to win elections.#2 – I wish we had not been involved in the recount for Governor. I was approached themorning after the election by the campaign manager and campaign chairman for theEmmer campaign and asked if the Party would take on the recount because they could

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