Two former Republican state representatives -- Laura Brod and Steve Sviggum -- were among four people recommended for spots on the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents.
A joint House and Senate higher education committee on Wednesday also advanced David McMillan, an executive vice president at Allete, and David Larson, a retired executive vice president at Cargill.
The full Legislature will vote on the candidates Monday.
While Larson got bipartisan support, votes for Brod, Sviggum and McMillan fell along party lines.
The committee passed over Steven Hunter, secretary/treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Hunter, like Larson, was seeking a second term.
Brod and Sviggum had been nominated for the same district seat, but Republicans moved Brod to the at-large spot.
After the vote, Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, blasted the process. Two years ago, DFL leaders were more bipartisan, nominating "two known Republicans," he said. "Bipartisanship at the Board of Regents has ended."
Hunter said he "suspected" that the Republican-controlled committees wouldn't pick him because of his job. Larson called the vote against Hunter "unfortunate" and "a mistake."
Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, said that over the years, partisan picks balance one another out. He said Hunter's selection six years ago was the result of a DFL-led Legislature.
Some candidates "you know better than others," he said, noting Sviggum's past as speaker of the Minnesota House. "It's pretty hard to expect your friends not to vote for you."