GOP's Seifert chooses running mateby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — State Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, is the first candidate for governor to name his running mate.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate chose an Anoka County Commissioner, Rhonda Sivarajah, as his running mate.
SEIFERT: SIVARAJAH AN AVERAGE MINNESOTAN
Seifert said Thursday that Sivarajah is best suited to represent his belief that government spending needs to be cut and regulations need to be reined in. He cited her real world experience running a small business, raising a family, and her record of downsizing government.
"Rhonda exemplifies what the average Minnesotan has, which is frustration. Frustration with government out of control, taxing too much, spending too much and regulating too much," Seifert said. "It's all about freedom, it's about personal responsibility.
"And Rhonda on the Anoka County Board, I want to let you know, has exemplified those values as chair of the Human Services committee which has jurisdiction over health, welfare, corrections, etc."
Sivarajah has served three terms on the Anoka County Board. She ran Republican Phil Krinkie's unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2006. Seifert is the first candidate for governor to name his lieutenant governor pick.
SIVARAJAH IDENTIFIES WITH TEA PARTY
Sivarajah said one of the reasons she initially ran for office was because she shared the same frustration that members of the Tea Party movement have with government.
"One of the things that I see is that the Tea Party movement really is very consistent with a lot of the core Republican values that we have," Sivarajah said. "A lot of the core conservative values: limited government, we believe in the power [of] the free market, personal responsibility. I think all of those things are very consistent."
Seifert said one of Sivarajah's strong points is her push to cut government spending.
"I want to have a doer," he said. "Some people just talk about less government, we've actually done it."
Seifert also said Sivarajah adds balance to the ticket. He's a rural lawmaker who has served 14 years in the Minnesota House, while she's a suburban local government official who said she didn't even consider herself a Republican until 2002.
In fact, she said she voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, but not in 1996. Sivarajah also alluded to a group that could have a heavy presence at this year's Republican endorsing convention.
Seifert's pick means he'll have something extra to talk about while he's courting delegates at local conventions in the next few weeks. As far as impact, running mates typically don't garner too much attention from the general public unless they make a misstep.
SEIFERT'S TOP OPPONENT NOT WORRIED
Seifert's top GOP opponent, Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, called Sivarajah a nice lady but said he didn't know too much about her. Emmer finished second to Seifert in a caucus night straw poll. Emmer said Seifert is announcing his running mate now because Seifert is worried he has momentum.
Emmer said he isn't focused on picking his running mate and is more concerned with convincing delegates to back him at the party convention.
"I think this happens in sports all of the time. People who are coaching are trying to change their game plan based on what the other team is doing," Emmer said. "That's not what we're going. We're going to stay on focus on what we're going to do and we'll continue to raise the level of the discussion as far as the Republican endorsement is concerned."
Both Emmer and Seifert said they'll drop out of the race if they don't win the party endorsement.
- All Things Considered, 02/18/2010, 5:25 p.m.