State Auditor's Race Runs Under Political Radar

October 19, 2018 06:48 PM

You've probably seen millions of dollars worth of political TV ads flooding the airwaves this fall, but you haven't seen any in the race for state auditor of Minnesota. Even though the office oversees $20 billion spent by local governments every year.

Republican Pam Myhra, a certified public accountant, and DFL candidate Julie Blaha, a math teacher, each clearly have a love of numbers. Although they're both running under political party banners, both profess a vision of the state auditor's office that is free of political influence.


"I've had a chance to lead an organization that is bipartisan," Blaha said during an interview alongside her opponent. "I've had a chance to work on the pension which was one of our best bipartisan accomplishments in years. That's really important."

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Myhra echoed the interest in keeping the office as non-partisan as possible.

"Absolutely," she said. "And as I served in the legislature, I chief authored two bills that were unanimously passed in the House. Those two bills were on government transparency, which dovetails into this exactly. So I have a proven background of bringing people together for the benefit of Minnesotans."

The two candidate did disagree on a lawsuit that was filed by current state auditor Rebecca Otto challenging a law that allows local governments to hire private auditors, rather than have the state auditor review their finances. Some local governments said the private audits were cheaper than audits by the state auditor's office.

"I am supportive of that because it allows the counties to be able to make a choice at their level," Myhra said. "(Use a) private firm or the state auditor. It provides more independence."

Blaha says she probably wouldn't have chosen to sue over the matter, but she does understand why Otto objected to what she considered an attack on the constitutional duties of her office.

"I do understand the attack Rebecca wanted to fight,"Blaha said. "There are Republicans who've been very open about the idea they'd like to get rid of this office entirely. They'd like to put it on the ballot so they could vote it out."

You can see the entire discussion with the two candidates on "At Issue with Tom Hauser" Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

Minnesota is one of just eight states with both a state auditor and a legislative auditor.  Even though the two positions sound similar, they're actually quite different.  Below are the main differences between the two.


Tom Hauser

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