Pat Shortridge announced today that he was in the race for RPM Chair with this letter to delegates:
I’m Pat Shortridge and I’m a candidate for party chairman. Let me tell you a little bit about who I am, what I’ve done, and my vision for our party.
I was born and raised in Winona, MN. I live in Lino Lakes with my wife, Christi, and our three children. The kids are the fifth generation to call MN home, and they are the reason I’m running for this job.
You see, I believe that our Minnesota Republican Party must be an effective voice for our principles. It must persuade Minnesota. It must be able to win elections. It must be able to help win votes in legislative chambers. If we can’t do these things, then our state won’t prosper and all our kids will be worse off than we are. I know you agree this is an unacceptable alternative. So, together, we must reform our party and move our state forward.
I’m a lifelong movement conservative. I believe in all three legs of the stool – economic, social, and national security conservatism.
WHAT I’VE DONE
I first got involved with our party in 1985, though I had dropped literature for President Reagan’s re-election. I can still remember hand-writing a letter, attaching a $25 check, and mailing it to the party chairwoman at the time, Marge Greunes. I was about to leave for college at Macalester and I wanted to be on record as a Republican before I went off to that liberal bastion.
Once at Macalester, I restarted their College Republicans Chapter. Talk about a lonely project! I was elected CR State Treasurer the next year.
Professionally, I spent the better part of the next 15 years working in Washington, DC working for Dick Armey, the former House Majority leader as well as our own Mark Kennedy.
In the 10½ years working for Armey, I saw the good things that happen when Republicans work effectively on behalf of their principles. We spent that decade revolutionizing both the Republican Party and then the United States. We beat back a Republican establishment who had lost the will to fight for our principles, especially in the US House.
That led to the first Republican majority in 40 years and, more importantly, significant policy changes -- welfare reform, tax cuts, and the first balanced budget in thirty years. We also passed significant protections for life, marriage, and the 2nd amendment.
After Armey retired and I went to work for Mark, the Republican majority began to change. While Mark was always a stalwart, principled fighter for the things you and I believe in, the majority around him changed. Republican leaders became more focused on hanging onto power than in conservative reform. The lack of serious conservative policy reforms, the earmarks, the problems in Iraq, and in the end the internal GOP scandals, caused Republicans to lose their majorities in 2006 and it cost good men like Mark any chance to win a statewide race.
Since 2007, I’ve had my own consulting company, working for conservative causes and candidates. I’ve worked for FreedomWorks, the National Republican Campaign Committee, the Employee Freedom Action Committee (working against card check,) in addition to working for conservative leaders like Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Dino Rossi, Adam Hasner, and Don Stenberg.
My professional experience has taught me that when we marry our beliefs and values with the right plan, we win. When we don’t, we lose.
When I went to Florida for Marco Rubio, we were down in the polls something like 50-6 and several million dollars behind in the money department. My task was to create and implement a plan that took advantage of Marco’s considerable strengths. That’s what we did; we created and worked the plan, with spectacular results.
That’s your and my challenge today. As Chairman, I will walk in on Day One with a plan and the ability and experience to put it into action. The plan will have clear responsibilities, married to accountability, for all of us: the Chairman, Executive Committee Members, BPOU leaders, all of us. We have to be accountable to one another if we hope to save our state from the path of decline that liberalism has put it on.
My goal is to make the MNGOP the long-term, conservative governing majority. That’s a challenge, but our state and our kids deserve nothing less. To do that we must:
Persuade Minnesotans that our vision and principles will make their lives better.
Win votes in legislative chambers - we can pass laws and repeal bad ones.
Time is short and resources even more so. I have three goals for this year to fulfill our mission:
Keep/expand our Majorities in the MN House and Senate.
Re-elect our 4 members of Congress.
Take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves, whether in CDs 1,4,5,7, the US Senate race, or the Presidential race.
I believe we must focus on three things in support of those goals:
Voter ID, voter targeting, and list building - We should be the best state party in America at this. Technology allows us to be much more efficient and strategic, while doing it at lower cost.
Message delivery - especially defining the differences between our endorsed candidates and those of the DFL
Research and tracking. If Chip Cravaack needs to know the 5 worst tax votes Tarryl Clark ever cast, we should have it for him in minutes. If Tom Bakk gives a speech on the budget, we should be there recording it.
I consider these things the basic blocking and tackling that we must do. If we get our financial house in order faster and have resources for some extra voter contact programs, great. But we must excel at the basics before we even consider moving on to anything else. Focus. Focus. Focus.
I believe I’m the right man for this job. My life has been spent working for conservative principles, especially working with the grassroots to move our principles forward. I have the ability to help fix our party’s structural problems, raise money, and win in 2012.
I’ve been involved in raising millions of dollars for candidates and causes. It’s about two things. First, it’s about programs, strategy, and process. We have to build those. Second, it’s about message and donors, whether giving $5 or $5,000, having confidence their money will be spent wisely on behalf of things they believe in. We will have a fundraising plan to both retire our debt and focus effectively on 2012.
I am a straight shooter. Ask me a question and you’ll get a direct answer. If things are going great, I’ll tell you, while encouraging us to go even farther. If some things are a mess, I’ll tell you so, while offering a plan to fix it. I won’t spin you or BS you and I hope you’ll do the same with me.
I will serve out only the remainder of the existing term. I will be a volunteer chairman. I am not running to build any kind of personal empire. I’m not running to help any particular candidate, faction, or group within the party. In fact, one of my greatest strengths, I believe, is my ability to be an honest broker and unify us in our mission to move this state in the right direction, so we don’t become a basket case like New York, Illinois or California.
It’s Christmas and I know you’re busy, so I really appreciate you taking the time to read this letter. I know it’s long, and I actually have much more to say, so I may be writing you again after Christmas. In the meantime, here’s a link to an interview I did that will give you some additional insights into my thinking. Also, watch my Facebook page (under construction - search "Pat Shortridge for MNGOP Chairman
") and Twitter feed for additional ideas.
One last thing: Since I’m running on my ability to unify us, and my willingness to present a plan that moves us forward, I’m not going to spend any time taking shots at other candidates. I hope my friends and supporters will follow suit. If others want to level petty personal attacks, I’d suggest it’s beneath our party and our movement. It is certainly not consistent with the Reason for the Season we’re celebrating. I’ll be celebrating HIS birth, not obsessing about something on Twitter. Do the same. If you see or hear something that concerns you, get in touch with me.
Thank you for reading this. I hope to earn your support and move together into the future.
Merry Christmas to you and your family. Travel safely!