It isn’t a secret that Keith Downey hasn’t been a competent state party chairman. This evening, though, Republicans got verification that he might cost Republicans some legislative seats because he didn’t get the basics right. He may also disenfranchise Minnesota’s Trump supporters.

Ken Martin, the chairman of the DFL, filed a lawsuit saying that “On May 20 and May 21, 2016, the State Republican Party held its 2016 State Convention (“State Convention”) in Duluth, Minnesota. The State Convention was attended by at least three delegates from each of Minnesota’s congressional districts, as well as a number of ‘at-large’ delegates. During the convention, delegates to the State Convention nominated delegates to attend the 2016 Republican National Convention, as well as ten presidential electors for the November 8, 2016, general election. During the State Convention, however, delegates did not nominate ten alternate presidential electors as required by Minn. Stat. § 208.03.”

Martin, in his filing, continued, saying “On August 3, 2016, the Secretary of State’s Office informed the Chair of the State Republican Party, Keith Downey (“Downey”), that the State Republican Party had not submitted names of alternate presidential electors to the Secretary of State’s Office. At no time thereafter did the State Republican Party hold a ‘convention’ called and held under the supervision of the State Republican Central Committee during which delegates nominated alternate presidential electors. Instead, the State Republican Party’s leadership ignored state law. Specifically, on August 24, 2016, the State Republican Party Executive Committee met to select and approve alternate presidential electors itself. This process, however, did not occur at a State Convention.”

Whether Republicans followed the rules or not in naming their alternate delegates is something that I’ll let the courts decide. That being said, how can people have confidence in a chairman who can’t get the basics done? Didn’t Chairman Downey have a list of things that had to get done at the convention? If he didn’t, why didn’t he? It’s his responsibility to make sure that the essential things got finished.

There’s no excuse for Chairman Downey not to make sure that the Republican Party of Minnesota didn’t meet its responsibilities as required by state statutes. Saying the equivalent of ‘I forgot’ doesn’t cut it. If you can’t finish the basics, you shouldn’t be part of leadership.

Fundamentally, a state party chair has just two jobs—first, getting state constitutional officers elected and second, making sure the party’s presidential candidate is on the state ballot. Chairman Downey has yet to accomplish the first and has now endangered the second.

Finally, and on a different subject, the worst kept secret is that Chairman Downey wants to run for governor in 2018. In light of this failure, I’d respectfully ask Chairman Downey to announce immediately that he isn’t going to run for governor. After this lawsuit, the ads virtually write themselves, with the wording going something like ‘if he can’t run a political party, how can he run an entire state?’ come to mind.

While I’m critical of what Chairman Downey failed to do, I don’t have any ill will towards him. He was a skilled legislator. Perhaps he could contribute that way.

One Response to “Keith Downey vs. Ken Martin”

Leave a Reply