Tollefson enters race for state auditor

The 2018 contest for state auditor has its first candidate.

Jon Tollefson, a lobbyist for the Minnesota Nurses Association, announced Thursday that he’s running as a DFL candidate for the constitutional office.

Tollefson briefly ran for Congress last year in the third district. The former U.S. State Department employee was also a Minnesota House candidate in 2014. He currently lives in Minneapolis.

Tollefson said he wants to strengthen and protect the independent oversight role of the office.

“We know how much we pay in taxes every year. But we don’t always know what are elected officials do with that money,” Tollefson said. “Frankly, many officials, especially among the Republicans, want to keep us in the dark.”

Tollefson said he fears a potential GOP-led effort to abolish the office state auditor via a constitutional amendment.

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“That could not be more harmful,” he said.

Tollefson is trying to replace incumbent DFLer Rebecca Otto, who is running for governor next year rather than another term as state auditor. So far, no other candidates have entered the race.

Tollefson said he is seeking the DFL party endorsement and will abide by the result.

“Between now and June, I’ll be getting out with all the DFL activists who are fired up right now,” he said.