Minnesota Republican have endorsed their candidates for Minnesota State Auditor and Attorney General.
In their first two endorsements of the day at the 2014 State convention in Rochester, Delegates unanimously backed Randy Gilbert for Minnesota State Auditor and State Sen. Scott Newman for Attorney General. Both ran uncontested for the GOP endorsement.
Gilbert, a former Long Lake mayor and current auditor at a Minneapolis firm, pledged to delegates to be impartial in office, criticizing his opponent, Current Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto, for taking campaign donations from unions representing professionals whose work she has audited, such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE).
“In Minnesota we elect a state auditor with the expectation that he or she is supposed to be an independent financial watchdog,” Gilbert said. “When it comes to independence, there is no conservative or liberal. The State auditor is to defend the taxpayers at all cost.”
Gilbert, who ran in 2010 but did lost the endorsement to former State Auditor Pat Anderson, announced his candidacy last year. In a statement, he said he intends to focus on campaigning against Otto, who has served as State Auditor since 2006.
“I am honored to receive the Republican Party’s endorsement. My campaign has and will continue to focus on providing the people of Minnesota with knowledge, experience, and independence in the State Auditor’s position.” He said. “To me, the auditor’s race is not about party politics but about ensuring that Minnesotans’ taxpayer dollars are handled with honesty and efficiency.”
Newman, a Minnesota State Senator from Hutchinson, accepted the endorsement one day after announcing his candidacy for for Attorney General. He will take on two-term DFL incumbent Attorney General Lori Swanson.
Before accepting the nomination, Newman, noted that a Republican has not held the office since 1966 creating a "sense of entitlement" by DFLers that they are entitled to the position.
"The result is our attorney generals promote political ideology over legal responsibility, and I think that is something that has to be corrected and has to be corrected now," he said to applause.
"It is my intent to move forward as your next attorney general, and I'm going to change the atmosphere in that office," he said. "What we will begin doing is taking the politics out of it because there is no purpose, there is no place for politics in that constitutional office."
Newman pledged to work hard on the campaign trail, but acknowledged it would be a daunting task without enthusiastic GOP support.
"We haven't held that office for almost a half a century, and without you folks contributing, it can't be done." he said.