Republican activists rejected former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and instead tapped Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson for a seat on the Republican National Committee.

“I was a little surprised, but I felt good going in,” Johnson said moments after the vote Saturday. “I’ve been working hard for three months.”

The vote stunned many in the room who assumed Emmer would easily win the seat. Supporters said the job needed someone who could dig in and work behind the scenes.

Emmer announced he was running for the post soon after narrowly losing to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Former State Auditor Pat Anderson also won a seat on the GOP national committee.

“I am thankful to the delegates for this opportunity to serve as National Committeewoman for Minnesota to the RNC," she said in a statement. "This is a critical moment and it is a chance to prove Minnesota’s importance to the RNC in the coming elections."

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