Area GOPers excited over RNC, Trump

By Trey Mewes, Mankato Free Press - Local Republicans are pleased with the way things have gone at the 2016 Republican National Convention, and they say prospects for Republican candidates are looking good as a result.

"It's done pretty well," Blue Earth County Republicans Chairman Jeremy Munson said.

Munson, an alternate delegate at the RNC this week, has been pleased with the speeches he's heard and the conservatives he's met — including Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

One thing that really stood out to Munson was the amount of security at the RNC — the hotel where he and other delegates are staying has a Secret Service detail, and the convention at Quicken Loans Arena has been staffed with numerous police throughout the week.

"It's just really been amazing," he said.

The RNC has made headlines for a variety of controversies large and small, from a small group of delegates seeking to block Donald Trump from officially receiving the Republican nomination for his presidential run to Ted Cruz's speech where he refused to endorse Trump's campaign.

Munson and other local Republicans dismissed much of the controversies as media-created scandals with little substance behind them, however. Munson said the attempt on Monday to change convention rules had little to do with unseating Trump, and more to do with preserving current procedure.

Outside of the convention, GOPers say they've been impressed with the convention's energy as well as Trump's appeal and the Republican party's attacks on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

"The Hillary Clinton candidacy is just a sore point among a lot of Americans," said Julie Quist, a former Nicollet County Republican Party officer who ran as a Trump delegate at the GOP's 1st Congressional District Convention earlier this year. "People feel that this woman was treated to a different system of justice, and people are just outraged about it."

Despite some misgivings from local conservatives about Donald Trump, many local Republicans say they've been impressed by Trump's campaign throughout the convention. Munson has seen several former anti-Trump delegates warm up to the Donald as the convention has progressed, and many Republicans were impressed with Trump's speech Thursday night, when he accepted the Republican party nomination.

"Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity and peace," Trump said.

Blue Earth Republican Jim Hagedorn, who is vying for the 1st Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, said he's been excited to see Trump come into his own as a presidential candidate espousing many of the ideas Hagedorn has supported over the past several years.

"He's the candidate that hasn't run for office before, and he's had for quite some time a team around him that weren't political professionals," Hagedorn said.

Trump's campaign has been notable for the candidate's various controversies and political gaffes, but Trump himself went through the convention without any notable mishaps — though a draft of his nomination speech was leaked online hours before he took the stage Thursday night.

Trump sought to paint himself as the only candidate tough on crime, international security and economic growth — all elements many local Republicans found appealing.

"He was highlighting the kind of campaign that we've been running in southern Minnesota for the years against Tim Walz," Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn is excited to run on the same ticket as Trump this fall, and predicts Trump will "handily" win the election.

"Donald Trump is going to run strong in Southern Minnesota," he said.