A “yes” vote on last year’s gay marriage bill might have cost Rep. David FitzSimmons a shot at a second term last weekend, as the St. Michael-Albertville-Otsego area Republican decided to pull his name from the ballot at the Wright County Republicans’ District 30 convetion in Buffalo.
FitzSimmons had been soundly crticized by local Republicans ever since his 2013 vote, a “yes” vote for the bill only after he had added an amendement that placed “civil” in front of marriage within the bill’s language.
FitzSimmons, a Republican activist who helped get candidates such as Tom Emmer to the brink of the governor’s office and Rep. Michelle Bachmann a national seat, told media he made the move to “protect religious institutions” who did not wish to perform marriage ceremonies for homesexual couples, despite the new state law.
One political professor called the amendement “heroic.” FitzSimmons said he was thinking of his constituents in heavliy Catholic areas, such as St. Michael and Albertville.
“I did what I thought I could do. They had the votes,” FitzSimmons said at the time. “At that point, I wanted to protect
religious institutions who didn’t want this.”
However, his constituency demanded a “no” vote. No county had more money poured in to the 2012 “Vote Yes” campaign, on the Republican amendment to ban gay marriages, than Wright County Catholics, according to public records published on sites such as MinnPost.
Dayton council memeber Eric Lucero and Otsego Republican Paul Boldin challenged FitzSimmons openly on the vote, and sought his seat via the endorsement last weekend. With 74 percent of the vote, Lucero earned the vote to represent the Wright County area as the endorsed Republican in the race.
FitzSimmons hasn’t given any indication as to what he’ll do after he serves out his term with this 2014 session. His former boss, Emmer, is the current frontrunner for the Sixth District Congressional seat, replacing Bachmann, who is also retiring from public office, for now.