Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer distanced himself on Thursday from allegations that his party wanted to extend the recount process to keep Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office.

Keeping the governorship in Republican hands when the GOP-led Legislature takes over in January would allow lawmakers to avoid a veto threat.

"I'm in charge," Emmer told WCCO-AM's Michele Tafoya, adding: "Anybody who would talk now about just using the process for delay or some other -- I think that's entirely improper and I wouldn't be part of it. So they can talk all they want; that's not what we're going to do."

He ardently defended the recount as an automatic process that his campaign did not initiate.

"This is nothing that Tom Emmer or our campaign has asked for," Emmer said. He described Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's timeline as "aggressive."