MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The race for Minnesota state auditor is usually a low key affair, but this year the Democratic primary is turning out to be one of the most heated of all races.

In a surprise move and at the very last minute, former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza jumped into the race against the incumbent and fellow Democrat Rebecca Otto.

Entenza’s entry into the race prompted protests from top party officials, and most Democratic leaders — from Sen. Amy Klobuchar to Gov. Mark Dayton — are supporting Otto.

Otto responded to Entenza’s insinuations that she has not been high-profile enough during her time as state auditor.

“The mistake that people make with the state auditor race is that they think it’s (for) governor,” Otto said on Sunday morning while talking with WCCO’s Esme Murphy. “It’s not governor. You don’t make policy, you don’t hand out money. You watch the money, so it’s oversight.”

Otto went on to say that the job is not meant to be “headline-making material,” but that she has received high marks for her performance thus far. She says the Institute of Internal Auditors named her one of the 15 most influential professional government auditors throughout all levels of American government.

“I’ll take their word over (Entenza’s),” Otto said.

Otto also commented on the amount of money Entenza has spent in past political campaigns.

“I don’t think big money belongs in this race. … You should be able to communicate in fairly short order what it is you would do as a state auditor and your qualifications,” she said. “I think this race is going to boil down to money versus love. I believe that Democrats really like the work that I’ve done.”

Entenza has recently criticized Otto for hosting national state auditors’ convention in St. Paul which he said was sponsored by an accounting firm that does government work, and which he said demonstrated a conflict of interest.

“It wasn’t sponsored by one CPA firm, there were lots of different sponsors. … We don’t contract with CPA firms. (Entenza) said we regulate them. We do not regulate them. We do not watchdog them. He’s wrong on all fronts, and it’s not a controversy,” Otto said. “When you’re desperate you’re going to make things up.”

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