By Mike Kaszuba
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer on Tuesday named a four-person committee -- led by Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau -- to help him select a running mate.
Emmer, a three-term legislator from Delano, also named two Republican legislators, Rep. Laura Brod, R-New Prague, and Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, to the committee as well as Bryan Reichal, the chief executive of PureChoice, a Burnsville manufacturing company.
He said none of the panel members would be excluded from becoming Emmer's choice for lieutenant governor.
His announcement came less than a week after Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, considered Emmer's chief rival for the Republican endorsement, named Anoka County commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah as his running mate.
"I'm busy introducing myself to the state of Minnesota," said Emmer, explaining his decision. "These people are going to be busy vetting folks." Emmer said the panel had no deadline, and may not make its choice by the time Republicans meet to endorse a candidate.
He said his running mate would have to share his philosophy, be able to assume control of the governor's office in an emergency and have a personality that would compliment "the strengths and weaknesses that I may have."
In joining the committee, Molnau acknowledged that her selection by Gov. Tim Pawlenty to be his running mate was not handled the same way. She said Steve Sviggum, the former Republican House Speaker, at one point told her that "you know, Pawlenty and I were thinking," she said. "[Sviggum said] a perfect ticket. . .would be a Pawlenty-Molnau ticket.
"And I said really? I was thinking a Molnau-Pawlenty ticket," she said.
Molnau has served as a low-key lieutenant governor, and has in the past been criticized for not being more public. She was critical Tuesday of efforts to abolish the position, saying the "lieutenant governor position is very important."
Emmer, asked whether Molnau was an example of a lieutenant governor he would like, said that the key was whether the governor was satisfied with his choice. Pawlenty, he said, has been "apparently satisfied" with Molnau.
But he added: "Granted, [Molnau's] not as public, right? I would think that that's something that would be different for me. That position, I would be hoping that the person would be more public."