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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published April 30 2010

Minnesota Republicans pick statewide candidates

MINNEAPOLIS – Pat Anderson expected to win Republican Party backing Thursday night to return to her job as Minnesota state auditor.

As this edition went to press, voting was not completed in her race.

Anderson, of Dellwood, was ousted from the office by Democrat Rebecca Otto four years ago. She was joined in the race by state auditor’s employee Jeff Wiita of Minnetonka, Mayor Randy Gilbert of Long Lake and ex-St. Paul School Board member Tom Conlon.

The secretary of state and attorney general candidates were endorsed unanimously.

The lone GOP candidate for attorney general is Chris Barden, who said the office has been in Democratic-Farmer-Laborite control for 40 years and it has become stagnant and in need of reform.

Barden, a University of Minnesota graduate, said among his priorities is building a strong business climate, challenging federal health care reform, improving public safety and election reform.

Democrat Lori Swanson is in her first term as attorney general.

State Rep. Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids, in his fourth term in the House, is the only GOP candidate for secretary of state. Demo-crat Mark Ritchie is the incumbent.

Plans change

Republican officials on Thursday switched attorney general and secretary of state endorsement votes to Thursday night.

The votes had been planned for Saturday, weaved among governor candidate endorsement votes. State auditor endorsement all along was planned for Thursday.

Unity breakfast

Republican officials plan to gather at 8 a.m. Saturday to celebrate party unity the morning after they pick a governor candidate.

Speakers for the event include Gov. Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen, candidates just endorsed at the convention and GOP legislative leaders.

The event is to be at the Minneapolis Hilton, with a unity rally planned for later in the morning as the state convention winds down.

Filing time near

Candidates running for public office need to file paperwork between May 18 and June 1.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said this is earlier than normal because the primary election was moved up a month to Aug. 10.

“The secretary of state’s office will be open at 8 a.m. on May 18 to accept federal, state and legislative candidate filings,” Ritchie said. “Also, candidates from Greater Minnesota have the option to file in their county of residence.”

Byberg hires Thompson

Just as congressional candidate Lee Byberg heads for the Republican convention, he picked long-time Twin Cities radio host Dave Thompson to be his communications director.

The Lakeville, Minn., resident is an East Grand Forks, Minn., high school graduate. He received economic and political science degrees from the University of North Dakota in 1984 and earned a University of Minnesota law degree three years later.

Byberg is challenging long-time U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, in the 7th Congressional District that includes most of western Minnesota.

Guest charge

Guests are welcome at the Republican convention.

That is, party Chairman Tony Sutton said, if they pay $10 for a guest pass.

Fairbanks grad

Governor candidate Tom Emmer has more than just a political connection with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who endorsed him Thursday.

Emmer attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and his wife somewhat knows Palin’s family.

Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.