Seifert taps Myhra as running mate

MARSHALL?- Republican candidate for governor Marty Seifert of Marshall announced Thursday he has picked Burnsville Rep. Pam Myhra as his candidate for lieutenant governor.

“I’ve known her and her husband for some years now,” Seifert said.

The former House Republican leader is making his second bid for the state’s top executive office, after losing the GOP endorsement to Tom Emmer in 2010.

“When I was House Minority Leader, I recruited her to run for office in May of 2009,” Seifert said. “After I retired, she was elected.”

Seifert said like him, she was able to be elected across party lines.

“I was elected with a majority of votes for representative,” he said.

Myhra offers a balanced election choice, Seifert said.

“We have a rural-metro ticket,” he said. “Usually it’s the reverse, but this time I’m from a rural area.”

Seifert noted that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and his new running mate, Tina Smith, are both from Minneapolis.

“They have an urban agenda,” he said. “A Minneapolis agenda.”

Myhra will be giving up her legislative seat to be Seifert’s running mate.

“She has a very compelling life story,” Seifert said. “She is the daughter of missionaries and spent the first five years of her life in South America.”

The decision to forgo her legislative seat “was easy,” Myhra said.

“Marty is trustworthy, he’s a strong conservative, and he has the right balance of experience and Minnesota values to be an exceptional governor for the state,” she said.

Seifert said when the family moved to Minnesota, Myhra did not speak English and had to catch up with her peers.

“She was bullied in school,” he said.

After a teacher mentored her in third grade, Myhra increased her reading level by four grades. She now has a “passion for literacy,” he said.

She home-schooled her children from kindergarten through high school and is also a certified public accountant.

Seifert’s running mate in 2010 was Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah. This year, she is facing Emmer in the GOP race in the 6th Congressional District.

Seifert is one of seven Republicans vying to take on Dayton but only the second to name a running mate. State Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville, who hails from the same corner of the Twin Cities metro as Myhra, chose fellow Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake as his running mate.

Seifert, along with several other candidates, has vowed to run in the August primary, meaning the governor’s race won’t have its Republican candidate until much closer to the November election.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.