Santorum wins Mille Lacs, Sherburne

Mille Lacs County GOP Vice Chair and Princeton resident Leana Linder speaks with caucus attendees about candidates Joe Arwood, who hopes to contend against Sen. Amy Klobuchar for her seat, and U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.

Mille Lacs County Republicans have spoken.

In keeping with state trends, Mille Lacs GOPs chose former U.S. senator Rick Santorum as the winner in the presidential straw poll caucus  Tuesday,Feb. 8, taking 56 percent of the vote.

Ron Paul was second with 21 percent of the vote. Gingrich was third in 13 percent of the vote. Romney was last with 9 percent. In 2008 Romney had 41 percent of the vote as he won Mille Lacs County.

In Sherburne County it was Santorum in first place with 45 percent of the vote, Paul with 31 percent, Gingrich 14 percent and Romney 8 percent. Over in Benton County Ron Paul won with 53 percent of the vote.

State Rep. Sondra Erickson stopped by to share a few words with Republicans gathered in the Milaca High School Dahlager Theater last Tuesday night, where local results mirrored that of the statewide choice for the Republican endorsement of a presidential candidate. Vice Chair for the Mille Lacs County GOP Leana Linder said those who attended the precinct caucuses made record donations that totaled a little more than $1,000.

“It was a really good turnout,” Linder said. “We had a lot of people wanting to be delegates this year.”

She said Santorum’s win didn’t come as a surprise to her and other party loyalists. But one of the results from the straw ballot wasn’t as expected.

“I was somewhat surprised by Ron Paul coming in second,” she said. “I thought Newt Gingrich would come in second.”

Along with rallying locals for the Republican cause, Linder also spent the evening promoting a potential Amy Klobuchar rival for her Senate seat, Joe Arwood, of St. Bonifacius. Linder is working as an executive assistant in Arwood’s campaign.

“He’s a conservative that won’t stray away from our principles,” Linder said of Arwood. “He has the enthusiasm to beat Amy Klobuchar.”

The Mille Lacs County Republican Convention is scheduled for 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Dahlager Theater.

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