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A pair of GOP gubernatorial candidates have named their running mates with a week to go before the state’s Republican convention. State Rep. Kurt Zellers selected former state Rep. Dean Simpson for the lieutenant governor spot on his ticket. Simpson, who is also Zellers’ campaign chairman, is a former New York Mills mayor and owner of grocery stores. He was first elected to the House in 2002, where he served on the taxes committee.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson selected former state Rep. Bill Kuisle as his running mate. Kuisle represented the Rochester area in the Minnesota House from 1996 until 2004, rising to become chairman of the Transportation Finance Committee. He had served as an Olmsted County commissioner for six years before winning his House seat.
Johnson and Zellers are the latest of the five Republican gubernatorial candidates to select running mates. Orono businessman Scott Honour is the only GOP hopeful who has yet to announce one. Sen. Dave Thompson in January chose fellow Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake. Former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert in February selected Rep. Pam Myhra of Burnsville. The victors in the August primary will run against Gov. Mark Dayton, whose running mate is former chief of staff Tina Smith.