ST. CLOUD - Minnesota Republicans have elected political consultant Pat Shortridge as their new state party chair.

Shortridge defeated Todd McIntyre and Terry McCall at a meeting of the party's State Central Committee in St. Cloud.

He says digging the party out of it's nearly $1.3 million debt is his first priority.

Shortridge was the only one of the three candidates that stated he would not take a salary for the position.  He says he'll do it for free, part-time.

Shortridge will serve the remainder of former GOP Chair Tony Sutton's term, which expires in April 2013. Sutton resigned Dec. 2 amid internal criticism of party finances