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Associated Press, Published May 22 2010

Kelliher designates Gunyou as running mate

ST. PAUL – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher picked former state Finance Commissioner John Gunyou as her running mate on Friday, saying he brought “unmatched knowledge of the state budget” to her ticket.

The two appeared together at a Capitol news conference, where Gunyou was ambiguous about his personal politics. He called himself a “Margaret Anderson Kelliher Democrat,” acknowledged his work for a Republican administration and said he had “voted Democratic far more times than I have voted Republican.”

Gunyou, 61, served as the state’s budget chief under Republican Gov. Arne Carlson and now works as city manager for Minnetonka, an affluent Minneapolis suburb. He is also a former finance director for the city of Minneapolis, a Democratic stronghold.

The selection defies the usual considerations of geographic diversity: Kelliher and Gunyou live less than 10 miles apart. Kelliher said her own farm-family roots should give comfort to voters outside the metropolitan area and that she was looking for someone with proven management skills over an established political pedigree.

It could be a sign that Kelliher, the House speaker and a Minneapolis resident, is making a firm play for center-left voters in an August primary.

Among her primary challengers, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton has appealed strongly to the party’s left flank, particularly with his vocal call for higher income taxes. Former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza of St. Paul is also in the mix.

Neither Dayton nor Entenza have chosen a running mate. Both have until the June 1 candidate-filing deadline to do so.

Kelliher said she would rely on Gunyou to help design a budget fix and longer-term changes, but she had no plans to put him in charge of a state budget agency.

“Driven by the courage of his convictions and armed with an unmatched knowledge of the state budget, John Gunyou is the right choice for this ticket and the right choice for our state,” she said.

If Kelliher wins, the new administration would have two gender breakthroughs. Minnesota has never had a woman as governor and hasn’t had a man as lieutenant governor in almost three decades.

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