MNGOP Rep. Urdahl, under fire for pro-stadium vote, shouts down fellow GOPers

Thumbnail image for dean urdahl.JPG
Urdahl has taken a lot of grief for his pro-stadium stance.
The Vikings stadium issue has been a rough one for Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City.

First, he was blasted by pro-stadium Strib columnist Jim Souhan for being "no smarter than the guy who writes in the comments section of an online newspaper, 'your stupid.'" Problem was, Souhan was bashing Urdahl for being anti-stadium, when in fact he had voted in favor of Zygi-land during the House committee meeting in question.

Then, on Monday, the Meeker County Republican Executive Committee held a special meeting to discuss whether to withdraw the party's endorsement from Urdahl, who again voted in favor of the stadium bill when it reached the House floor. Some Republicans believe "publicly funding a billionaire's private company is a violation of the fundamental principles of the GOP."

The Monday meeting devolved into quite the spectacle. Trying to explain himself in front of a roomful of angry Republicans, the Litchfield Independent Review reports that Urdahl had to stand and shout to make himself heard.

From the Review's report:
The Vikings stadium has proven to be a divisive issue for the MNGOP, as evidenced by this Facebook page.
While standing, Urdahl slammed his hands on a table as he chastised fellow Republicans for calling Monday's meeting to consider whether to withdraw the party's endorsement for Urdahl. Urdahl told the group that "all the things you cry for" would have been sacrificed if he and other Republicans had failed to pass the stadium bill.

"This was a vote to help preserve our majority," Urdahl said.

At the end of his speech, Urdahl crumbled a piece of paper containing prepared remarks and threw it in the direction of [anti-stadium] State Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. Showing an expression of dejection, Urdahl then sat down in a chair.

After the meeting, Newman joked that he "ducked" out of the way of the flying paper. "He's just frustrated," Newman said. "We're all a little frustrated. It was just a contentious session."

Newman described Urdahl's outburst as out of character. "I have not seen him act like that, ever," Newman said.
Though the Meeker County Republicans ultimately decided against supporting a move to revoke Urdahl's endorsement, Monday night's fiasco illustrates why the party endorsement process has come under fire from legislators like John Kriesel, a retiring MNGOP Representative from Cottage Grove. During an appearance on Dan Barreiro's KFAN radio show Tuesday, Kriesel lamented that in order to secure an endorsement from party delegates, legislators on both sides of the aisle are coerced into taking extreme policy positions that alienate comparatively moderate, independent voters.

As Urdahl explained to the West Central Tribune before Monday night's meeting, those calling for his un-endorsement are a small minority in the party.

"And you take one step off the path you think you should be on, and they attack," he said.

See also:
-- Jim Souhan, Star Tribune columnist, savaged for "lazy journalism" in Star Tribune op/ed

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9 comments
Colin
Colin

In my opinion, there are several flaws in Rep. Shimanski & Urdahl’s letter to the Hutchinson Leader published May 20, 2012 detailing why they voted for the Viking’s stadium.First, they state, “Citizens won’t pay a single penny for the stadium.”  But they fail to tell us that’s only if everything works out perfectly.  At the end of the day, the state is on the hook.  And that means taxpayers.Secondly, they state, “The team will absorb any construction-cost overruns and also pay for any enhancements.”  What guarantees do we have that will happen?  Can you point to any construction projects you know of that come on time and on budget?  If the team can’t or won’t pay, guess what?  The taxpayers will be on the hook to finish the stadium or be faced with a hulking mass of incompleteness.Thirdly, they state, “Businesses will enjoy an enhanced environment.”  What exactly does that mean out here in rural Minnesota?  And that we will capture “revenue that otherwise may have gone to tribal casinos and so on.”  So now we’re hoping to divert revenue from one area to another?  Who’s going to make up that shortfall?  The taxpayers.Fourthly, they state, “That the plain fact is this issue was not going to disappear until we had a stadium deal in place” and that, “Just as with Target Field, someday we will look back on this new stadium and know we made the right decision by building it.”  I have more bad news – hope is not a strategy.The representatives opened their address with “Sometimes we need to step back from the legislative issue to look at the big picture.”  Let’s entertain that thought for a moment.Here’s what’s not going away – the problems in our schools and cities and the deteriorating roads and infrastructure in our state.  The vote for the stadium is nothing more than proof of misplaced priorities.  Wouldn’t you have all liked to see such a spirited debate and additional funding for our schools?  Because while the jury is out on whether or not any stadium has been worth the investment, everyone can agree that money spent on education is money well spent.The only thing I can think of after reading the representatives’ letter is Rep. Urdahl’s recent admission of why he really voted for the stadium.Rep. Urdahl didn’t say building the Viking’s stadium was the right thing to do.  Last Monday at a meeting of Meeker County Republicans in Litchfield, Re. Urdahl said, “This was a vote to help preserve our majority.”

Slikweasel21
Slikweasel21

Whats the hardest thing to be in today's Democratic or Republican party? A fucking moderate.

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

AH, what it must be like to be a republican... "Drink the kool-aid or we shall smite thee!!!"

amiller92
amiller92

I don't see that as symmetrical.  Aside from a handful of core issues (mostly having to to with choice and, around here, labor), DFLers are pretty free to be moderate.  Used to be true of the republicans too, but the crack down two years ago still lingers.

Joe
Joe

 I thought they got all their marching orders from God himself....

Now I'm confused

Slikweasel21
Slikweasel21

I will agree the Democratic Party is more tolerant of moderates, but definitely not overly tolerant.  The GOP has absolutely no tolerance these days.  Former State Senator Steve Dille would attest to that.  I wonder if some of these moderates who were forced out would have success running as independents in their districts...

a grandpa
a grandpa

ask former Senator Paul Koering about running as a displaced Republican.

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

opportune time to come up with a third party with the right push and the right money.

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