WASECA — After no challenger has emerged from his party, State Rep. John Petersburg will be the only Republican on the ticket for House District 24A this year.
Petersburg, R-Waseca, received the party endorsement over the weekend after the Waseca County Basic Political Organizing Unit (BPOU) convention and a second convention comprising delegates from throughout the district, which includes the cities of Owatonna and Waseca.
“In order for me to be endorsed, I had to be endorsed by my entire district,” Petersburg said. “There is a special caucus for that endorsing convention, which was called.”
The BPOU convention was held first on Saturday morning, followed shortly after by the District 24A endorsing convention, which included members from throughout the district.
“There were no challenges, and I was endorsed by acclimation,” Petersburg said.
The endorsement marks a major step in Petersburg’s bid for a sophomore term for the district after being elected in November of 2012 over challenger Craig Brenden. Petersburg received 52 percent of the vote in the 2012 election.
November’s contest could be a rematch after Brenden announced during last month’s DFL caucuses that he intends to again challenge Petersburg for the district’s seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
The Steele County DFL Convention is slated for March 29.
“We need a voice that is going to speak up for the people of our community of outstate Minnesota, who’s willing to fight for who we are and what we stand for, to move things forward for all people of the state,” Brenden said during the Feb. 4 DFL caucus in Owatonna.
Petersburg said he was happy to get the party’s endorsement out of the way.
“It feels good to get that done. It feels good to get the support from those that were in attendance,” Petersburg said. “I hope to earn support from most of the people in my district ... It’s just one more hurdle that you have to go through when you’re in the political process. You have to make sure that people are willing to support you and that you have mechanisms in place.”
Petersburg said he wouldn’t dive completely in to his re-election campaign until this year’s legislative session wraps up. He said campaigning is something he enjoys because it allows him to connect with his constituents.
“After the session ends, of course, then we’ll pretty much be in campaign mode,” Petersburg said. “There will be parades, walking, door-knocking and literature to hand out. There will be a certain number of debates that we will be doing as well. What I find most enjoyable is getting out, meeting people and talking with them.”
This year’s election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Reach reporter Al Strain at 444-2376 or follow him on Twitter.com@OPPalstrain