Ames, Iowa–Although there was a strong contingent of Minnesota Republicans on hand to participate in the Iowa “straw vote” here this weekend, many made it a point to say they are neutral when it comes to the Gopher State’s favorite son and daughter competing for the presidential nomination. Although Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty are both making a major push to win the non-binding straw vote held at the Iowa State University later today, the Minnesota conservatives here who spoke to HUMAN EVENTS said they were unwilling to choose between them.
“I know both of them and I’ll just say when it’s over, I hope everyone in this race comes together the way a family does after a disagreement and unites to defeat Barack Obama–that’s what I care about most,” said Jennifer DeJournett, co-founder and president of the Minnesota-based Voices of Conservative Women. DeJournett,whose organization raised $90,000 last year and mobilized volunteers to elect conservative women to office in three states, added that she knew Bachmann and that Pawlenty had appointed her to the state Committee on National Service.
“They both have their strong points,” said the Maple Grove housewife and mother of four, who is also a former structural engineer.
Minnesota’s State Rep. Mary Franson, a self-styled “pocketbook mom” who was elected to her first term in 2010 with strong support from the Voices of Conservative Women, agreed. In her words, “I wasn’t in office when Gov. Pawlenty was, but he’s a fine person. So is Rep. Bachmann. But what’s important is that we just unite behind a candidate when it’s over. We have to get together because this country just can’t take anymore of Obama!”
Both Francin and DeJournett made it clear they were open to other candidates in the race outside of Minnesota. The Voices of Conservative Women has set up a tent outside the coliseum at Ames and will conduct a straw vote of its own: Minnesota corn ears donated from the farm of the sister of State Senate GOP Leader Amy Koch will bear the names of the candidates for the Republican nomination and the Voices group will keep a tally of how many are being purchased by name.