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Zellers taps former Rep. Simpson as running mate

  • Associated Press
  • May 22, 2014 - 4:35 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Republican gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers looked inside his own campaign Thursday for a running mate with the selection of former state Rep. Dean Simpson.

The announcement is the third GOP pairing involving a current or former House member as a would-be lieutenant governor. Simpson, who retired from the Legislature in 2008, had been finance chairman for Zellers' campaign committee.

Zellers, of Maple Grove, drew contrast between his selection and the "all-Minneapolis" ticket of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and running mate Tina Smith.

Simpson, he said, represents "a seat at the table" for greater Minnesota. "He is what Main Street Minnesota is all about," Zellers said.

Simpson, 63, lives in Perham. He served three terms in the House after years in local office. He has a long history in the grocery business, running two stores and employing 100 people.

During their overlapping time in the Legislature, Simpson and Zellers departed on some key votes, including a financing plan for a new Minnesota Twins ballpark, a minimum wage increase and a surcharge on tobacco.

Simpson described himself as "a little bit on the moderate side." Zellers said he is confident Simpson would carry out his agenda if the duo wins.

Zellers is a former House speaker and one of five with a shot at the GOP nomination. Of the GOP contenders, only businessman Scott Honour is left to make a lieutenant governor pick. The GOP ticket won't be settled until an August primary.

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