ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Marty Seifert, a leading Republican candidate for governor, on Thursday named a suburban state legislator as his running mate.

Seifert and Rep. Pam Myhra made their public debut at a Capitol news conference. Myrha is a two-term lawmaker and former CPA from Burnsville. Seifert, who hails from Marshall, sought to contrast the rural-suburban nature of his ticket with that of Gov. Mark Dayton. The incumbent Democrat recently tapped Tina Smith, his former top aide, as his second-term running mate; the two both hail from Minneapolis.

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“Mark Dayton and an all urban, liberal Minneapolis ticket is not a balanced choice for Minnesota,” Seifert said.

Myhra was elected to the House in 2010 by defeating a Democratic incumbent, and re-elected in 2012. She has not been a high-profile member of the House, where she has concentrated on education issues. She said her focus as lieutenant governor would be to promote literacy, and Seifert said she would serve as a legislative liaison for his administration. Myrha said she would not run for re-election.

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

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 Myrha, 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.

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