Former state Rep. Tom Emmer won the strong endorsement of Republican Party delegates in the 6th Congressional District in his race to succeed Michele Bachmann.
Emmer, who narrowly lost the gubernatorial race to DFLer Mark Dayton in 2010, received 76 percent of the votes on the first ballot at Saturday's district convention in Monticello, the St. Cloud Times reports.
"We are in this together," Emmer told delegates, according to the Pioneer Press. "This is about starting to move Minnesota and this country in the right direction, in our direction."
But the endorsement doesn't guarantee Emmer will be on the ballot in November. Two GOP challengers say they will compete against him for the nomination in the August 12 primary.
One, Anoka County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah, was at the convention seeking delegates' support. She says she would be a coalition builder, not an obstructionist, if elected.
The other, former state Rep. Phil Krinkie of Shoreview, didn't attend Saturday's convention but said earlier he intends to run in the primary.
The 6th District extends from the St. Croix River Valley north to St. Cloud and south to Carver County. It's the most Republican-leaning of Minnesota's eight congressional districts, according to a Pioneer Press analysis of voting trends.
Bachmann was first elected to the House in 2006, and announced last year she would not run for a fifth term. She launched an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2012, and narrowly won re-election to her House seat that year.
Emmer is a lawyer from Delano who served three terms in the state House before losing the governor's race to Mark Dayton in 2010.
On the DFL side, delegates in the 6th District will meet May 3 to endorse a candidate to run. The announced candidates include Sartell Mayor Joe Perske, political scientist Jim Read at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University and Judy Adams, an environmental activist from Circle Pines.
Last weekend, the Independence Party endorsed John Denney of Forest Lake for the seat.