If you missed the news, the Minnesota Vikings selected UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft last evening. I'll wait for future posts to offer commentary on the ups and downs of being a die-hard Vikings fan.
But the NFL draft isn't the only selection process getting attention right now.
The process I'm referring to isn't televised, with potential picks sitting in a room with their family, as they wait for a phone call from their agent or team owner with the good news.
This post is about the selection of a lieutenant governor candidate to run with a candidate for governor in Minnesota. I'll add that if the process of selecting a lieutenant governor was televised, a political geek like me wouldn't miss a second of coverage.
Since 1974, candidates for governor and lieutenant in Minnesota run on the same ticket. A candidate for governor is legally required to list their candidate for lieutenant governor on their Affidavit of Candidacy, which is filed with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. The filling period to run for office this year begins on May 20 and closes at 5:00 PM on June 3.
Below are the candidates for lieutenant governor, in order of being announced by their campaigns:
- Senator Michelle Benson - Dave Thompson, Republican candidate for governor.
- Tina Smith - Governor Mark Dayton (DFL), who is seeking re-election as governor.
- Representative Pam Myhra - Marty Seifert, Republican candidate for governor.
I contacted the campaigns who have selected candidates for lieutenant governor and asked for a comment about the selection process and the campaign's philosophy about role of lieutenant governor.
Jon Seaton, Dave Thompson for Governor
Dave Thompson had 3 criteria when selecting a Lt. Governor: First, the individual needed to be qualified to serve as governor if necessary; second, Dave wanted someone who he could trust to be a partner in leading the state; and third, someone with integrity. It was also important that Senator Benson has expertise in health care policy. As he visited with potential candidates, Michelle Benson clearly met those criteria and will be an outstanding Lt. Governor for all of Minnesota.
Katharine Tinucci, Mark Dayton for Governor
We were looking for a lieutenant governor candidate who would travel the state, meet people, hear their ideas and talk about how the policies we have passed have positively impacted Minnesotans in every corner of our state. Beyond the campaign, Governor Dayton was also looking for a partner in governing who can tackle tough problems, build coalitions and achieve results for all Minnesotans--all things that Tina has done effectively as Chief of Staff to the governor. She has also proven herself a strong candidate as she has spent the last four months meeting Minnesotans and campaigning statewide.
Andy Post, Marty Seifert for Governor
The process of selecting a candidate for Lt. Governor should be done thoughtfully and thoroughly. The candidate should be knowledgeable of state issues and also firm in their conservative principles. They should offer a major quality that complements the gubernatorial candidate, such as geographic balance. It is not a process to be rushed in order to meet a Party or state election deadline. Delegates, donors, and the general population deserve adequate time to learn about the choice and their background and beliefs before the filing deadline.
The following Republican campaigns for governor have not announced their candidates for lieutenant governor, but offered comments on their individual selection process.
Rob Farnsworth, Rob Farnsworth for Governor
We looked at balancing the ticket with someone from the Twin Cities and who had different life experiences than the traditional candidate.
Pat Shortridge, Scott Honour for Governor
The lieutenant governor pick is another opportunity to differentiate Scott from politics as usual and the typical political way of doing things. He's going to pick someone who will be a true partner in making conservative change and transforming state government. His lieutenant governor will have real substantive responsibilities.
David Gaither, Jeff Johnson for Governor (campaign has search committee for lieutenant governor)
Our committee has reviewed multiple candidates and we are in the final stages of the selection process. We have considered qualified individuals from around the state and we will balance Jeff's strengths with the strengths of the lieutenant governor candidate.
Zander Abrams, Kurt Zellers for Governor
Kurt will select a lieutenant governor who shares his plan for Minnesota. A person who is committed to jobs and career opportunities for all Minnesotans.
The Republican Party of Minnesota is scheduled to endorse a candidate for governor at their state convention in Rochester at the end of May. With the filing period closing just three days later, the campaigns that have yet to announce their candidate for lieutenant governor have just a few weeks to decide.
It may not have the excitement of the NFL draft, but Minnesota politicos certainly pay attention to who gets the call to join the team for the upcoming season.