Newcomer Leilani Holmstadt Wins First Ballot for GOP SD54 Senate Endorsement

GOP SD54 Endorsed Senate Candidate Leilani Holmstadt

~UPDATED~ COTTAGE GROVE, MINNESOTA  Senator Katie Sieben (D-SD54) has decided to not run for re-election this fall, which opens the door to the GOP to add a seat toward regaining control of the Minnesota Senate. Currently, the DFL holds an eleven seat majority over the Republicans in the Senate. 027

At the GOP SD54 Senate Endorsing Convention held on Thursday, April 21, 2016, delegates chose to support Leilani Holmstadt: a local grassroots political/educational activist and former ISD 833 School Board candidate,  instead of Afton resident Lynn Kaye.  Holmstadt won with the first ballot, receiving sixty-three (63) out of seventy-six (76) votes, for 83% of the votes; well over the necessary 60% for endorsement.

008Introduced by Minnesota Voters Alliance Board of Directors member, Susan Richardson, Holmstadt won over the delegates with her speech where she not only outlined her accomplishments and experiences (for example: testifying as a small business owner against the State mandated unionization of childcare providers, saying, “As a sole proprietor that is concerning: if they can force one private business into a union, what business is next?”), but also focused014 on concerns she’s heard from voters: frustration, weariness and fear about the economy, quality of life and being able to provide for their children. Naming many of the issues currently facing Minnesotans; i.e., businesses moving out of the state and the implementation/consequences of the Common Core curriculum in the public schools, along with financial impacts of increased government intrusion and regulations, Holmstadt related how she too, as a small business owner and parent is also concerned about those issues and is running for Senate because she believes in “stepping up and making a difference.”

Leilani Holmstadt's daughters stand in support of their mother.
Leilani Holmstadt’s daughters stand in support of their mother.

Holmstadt also criticized current Representative and Senate District 54 candidate, Dan Schoen (D-54A), for his attempts to “chip away at your Second Amendment Rights” with HF3759 and HF2897 – two bills that will “set limits/prohibitions on citizens owning firearms.” Promising to “not provide political cover for Democrats and their legislation” Holmstadt asked for the delegates to endorse her as their Senate candidate.

Afton resident Lynn Kaye asks for GOP SD54 delegates' support.
Afton resident Lynn Kaye asks for GOP SD54 delegates’ support.

The crowd was unswayed by Lynn Kaye’s attempt to designate herself as the GOP choice by arguing that she could beat Democrat candidate Dan Schoen because she had the support of two Minnesota State Senators – Karin Housley (R-SD39) and former Senator Brian LeClair (R-SD56) – illustrating her point with a story about Senator Housley giving her a “Road-map on how to win.” Kaye’s claims to having “a record of winning” along with the “support of the GOP, and more importantly, the GOP knows that come hell or high water, I’m here to represent that each and every day, putting my best foot forward: PERIOD!” as well as success as a fund-raiser, a former Wall Street executive, and a personal business owner, her membership in the “Blue Blood Club” Minneapolis Rotary Club and the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, her professed love for guns and Christianity failed to bring more than 17% of the delegates to her side.

Kaye and Holmstadt take questions after their speeches.

The delegates showed they preferred Holmstadt’s answers and presentation when they voted, giving her 83% of the vote in a landslide victory with the first ballot.

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For more information, please see the following links: SD54 Senate Endorsing Convention Motion to Allow Audio/Video Recording; Leilani Holmstadt Senate Endorsing Convention Speech to Delegates; Lynn Kaye Senate Endorsing Convention Speech to Delegates; and Holmstadt and Kaye Q&A.

Updated April 28, 2016 11:33am

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle is a former writer for Alpha News.