The DFL state auditor race was overshadowed at last weekend’s endorsing convention in Rochester by the scramble to succeed Gov. Mark Dayton.
Julie Blaha, the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer and a former teacher who lives in Ramsey, won the endorsement. Jon Tollefson of Minneapolis, a Minnesota Nurses Association lobbyist and former foreign service officer, lost but then filed for the primary.
However, on Thursday, Tollefson withdrew his name from the primary ballot.
Blaha said her campaign “is about protecting an office that does really important things for us close to home.”
The auditor oversees spending and other local government functions.
Blaha said in Rochester that she would help communities protect pensions, extend sick leave, fight discrimination and “align our state’s investments with our values.”
Auditor candidate Pam Myhra of Burnsville was endorsed at the Republican Party convention in Duluth last weekend. She’s a certified public accountant and former state representative.
Incumbent Auditor Rebecca Otto, who was first elected in 2006, sought the DFL gubernatorial endorsement and ended her campaign when she didn’t get it. In April, she lost a long legal fight to block a 2015 state law that allowed counties to hire outside accountants.
Though generally low profile, the state auditor job has been a springboard to higher office in Minnesota. Both Gov. Mark Dayton and former Gov. Arne Carlson held the job before becoming governor.