Michelle Fischbach, who last week triggered a special election for her senate seat after announcing she will become the full-time lieutenant governor of Minnesota, has revealed the reason behind her gambit.
She was announced as GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty's running mate in the Minnesota gubernatorial race, meaning that should he win the election in November she'd continue as the state's lieutenant governor.
As the former president of the Minnesota Senate, Fischbach automatically became the lieutenant governor under Democrat Mark Dayton in January, after former Lt. Gov. Tina Smith was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Dayton after Al Franken resigned.
Confusing, isn't it?
"Michelle is a leading policymaker from Greater Minnesota who knows how to lead, solve problems and get things done for Minnesota," Pawlenty said, announcing the move.
"She will be a key part of our efforts to hold government more accountable, reduce health care costs, eliminate taxation of Social Security benefits, improve our educational system, reform Minnesota's tax system, and more."
The announcement comes a day before the Minnesota Republican Convention gets underway, in which state GOPers will officially endorse a candidate for governor.
Pawlenty is not attending the convention, saying he entered the race too late to seek the endorsement, for which Jeff Johnson is now the favorite to get.
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Fischbach initially held on to her role as the President of the Senate until the end of the legislative session, despite legal challenges that she wasn't allowed to assume both roles, but announced last week that she'd be stepping down from her senate seat.
With Dayton retiring as governor, Fischbach stood to be replaced by the incoming Lieutenant Governor depending on who wins the November election, which is why her decision to resign from the senate came as a surprise.
But it makes more sense now she's running with Pawlenty to hold on to the role for another four years.
The special election in her senate district will be hugely significant, as it will decide control of a senate that is now tied 33-33 after she stepped down.
Minnesota DFL chairman Ken Martin said the decision to make Fischbach his running mate is a sign "Tim Pawlenty is abandoning any pretense of being a moderate."
"Michelle Fischbach represents an element of the Republican Party far out of touch with everyday Minnesotans," he said. "She has led Republican attempts to ban marriage equality, restrict health care choices for women, and even helped her new running mate, Tim Pawlenty, strip our schools of critical funding."