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Thompson picks Benson as running mate in governor’s race


State Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, is the first of six Republican candidates for governor to name a lieutenant governor running mate.

Thompson announced today that Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, is joining his campaign. During a news conference at the Capitol, he explained that he wanted a running mate with experience, integrity and a similar conservative philosophy. Both are serving their second term in the Minnesota Senate.

“I've asked Sen. Benson, and she has agreed, to start traveling this state during the campaign to learn what concerns people have about health care and other issues, and use her expertise to help out,” Thompson said.

Benson has been a frequent critic of the state’s health insurance exchange, and she said she will continue working on that issue and others as lieutenant governor.

“I believe there’s enough work and enough special projects in a governor’s office that if he had someone willing to work and advocate and link up with commissioners and stakeholders, that we could move some special topics forward for this state,” Benson said. “When he’s elected governor, we’ll start identifying those things beyond MNsure that would be important to highlight in a Thompson administration.”

The announcement comes just five days before precinct caucuses are held across the state. Those partisan gatherings begin the candidate endorsement process. Thompson and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson are the only two Republicans running for governor who have pledged to abide by the party endorsement.

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