Dayton Councilor Eric Lucero wins Republican endorsement

FitzSimmons won’t seek 2nd term

By Aaron Brom

Sun Press Newspapers


After facing scrutiny for a marriage-legalization bill vote, Rep. David FitzSimmons (R-Dist. 30B) announced at the Saturday, Feb. 22, Dist. 30B GOP convention that he would not seek a second term.

Dayton City Councilor Eric Lucero challenged FitzSimmons’ endorsement and then won it after FitzSimmons stepped down.

The endorsement, or lack thereof in FitzSimmons’ case, reached metro attention in editorials and TV coverage. FitzSimmons took a lot of heat in the gay marriage vote when he helped secure passage of an amendment giving churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages sturdier legal protection. FitzSimmons then supported the bill, which constituents noted would have been passed anyway.

FitzSimmons said Monday that he knew there was a possibility his vote would “put me out of office.” But he said he would vote the same way again.

“I made the best long-term decision I could for my constituents,” he said in published reports. “If you don’t try to do what’s best for your constituents, it’s not worth being in office, anyway.”

FitzSimmons was recently supported by high-profile elected officials in his district, including the St. Michael, Albertville and Otsego mayors, who wrote to Crow River News urging his support.

“Because of the efforts of local leaders, particularly Rep. David FitzSimmons, the I-94 capacity expansion project is finally a reality,” the mayors wrote. “In less than a year, David’s strong efforts helped progress I-94 expansion in our area from not being on MnDOT’s 20-year plan to having expansion construction now scheduled to begin in July 2014. As leaders in the cities most impacted by traffic conditions on I-94, we could not be more proud of the efforts of Rept. FitzSimmons and our community.”

An attendant of the Republican’s meeting Saturday heavily criticized her own party in a letter to the editor (see page 4).

“This was negative campaigning at its finest,” said Amy Jones of St. Michael. “I walked into that caucus believing that because I identify with conservatism and understand and support it from at least a financial or economic perspective that I should get more involved at the grassroots level to try to help change the image of the party. What I saw that night made me feel ashamed. Either the majority of the people in that room were simply not smart enough to understand FitzSimmons’ strategy to help the churches or they didn’t care to because there was clearly a lynch-mob there that was out to take him down regardless.”

Lucero, on the other hand, said on his website that “FitzSimmons breaks his word.” He has publicly stated that FitzSimmons did not accurately represent his constituents.

“At the time, voters had every reason to trust David FitzSimmons,” Lucero said on his website about the marriage vote. “David FitzSimmons later broke his word by voting to redefine marriage.”