By Mike Kaszuba

Toni Backdahl, state coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, took the stage at the state Republican convention to polite applause and reminded Republicans that Tea Party members were non-partisan.

After her speech, she said both Rep. Tom Emmer and Rep. Marty Seifert, who were vying Friday for the party's gubernatorial endorsement in Minneapolis, "were backed by big money."

Backdahl, who lives in Plymouth, added:  "We want somebody to represent the people, and not big money. . .so we're looking for a big surprise.  Hopefully, there'll be one.

As she exited, a Bob Dylan song played over the loudspeakers.