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Primary 2014: Otto defeats Entenza in DFL auditor race

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Rebecca Otto
Rebecca Otto, after she was nominated to be the DFL candidate for the Minnesota State Auditor, at he DFL Convention, in Duluth, Minnesota, on May 31, 2014.
Paul M. Walsh/For MPR News

Updated: 11:27 p.m. | Posted: 6 p.m.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto trounced self-financed challenger Matt Entenza in the DFL primary Tuesday.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Otto received more than 80 percent of the vote.

Upcoming comeuppance
Matt Entenza, former state rep. and founder of Minnesota 2020, thinks Republicans will pay the price for the shutdown during next year's elections.
Mark Zdechlik/MPR News, file

"Love can really trump big money," Otto said after Entenza conceded the race. "The DFL endorsement matters. The DFL party is very strong."

Entenza endorsed Otto in her upcoming race against Republican Randy Gilbert.

What was expected to be a low-profile race for the two-term auditor took a turn when Entenza jumped into the race at the last minute, even though he didn't contest the party endorsement earlier.

He spent more than $600,000 of his own money and leveled several sharp criticisms, accusing Otto of not being aggressive enough.

Entenza, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, is the founder of the liberal think tank Minnesota 2020.

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Otto was first elected in 2006 and re-elected four years ago. She easily received endorsement from the party this spring.

The brief campaign was marked by sharp attacks from Entenza claiming that Otto has not been aggressive enough. Otto responded that Entenza doesn't understand the appropriate role of the auditor.

"People don't always understand the job of the state auditor," Otto said. "But they know that I've done an excellent job and we take great pride in good government in Minnesota."

Last year, Otto raised the ire of some on the Iron Range for her vote on the state's executive council last year against issuing 31 mineral leases in northern Minnesota. She expressed concern over long-term financial liability.

Before winning her first run for auditor in 2006, Otto was in the state House of Representatives and before that served on the Forest Lake school board.