ST. PAUL (AP) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty picked fellow state Rep. Carol Molnau on Monday to be his running mate.
The choice, which is months ahead of the typical timeline for announcing a lieutenant governor candidate, gives Pawlenty gender balance on his ticket. Pawlenty's main competition for the GOP endorsement is Long Lake entrepreneur Brian Sullivan, who has yet to announce his No. 2.
Pawlenty, the House majority leader from Eagan, and Molnau, who lives in Cologne, both were first elected to the Legislature in 1992. They have adjoining desks in the House chamber.
The announcement came at a cattle barn on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus, with hay bales and a distinct manure smell helping to emphasize Molnau's farm roots. The 51-year-old has lived her entire life on a farm.
"She is ready, she is remarkable and she is rural," Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty also was attracted to Molnau because of her vast knowledge of transportation issues, which she has honed as chairwoman of the House Transportation Finance Committee.
"When I'm elected governor, I'm going to appoint Carol Molnau as a one-woman SWAT team to kick open doors and build roads and bridges for the state of Minnesota," Pawlenty said.
Molnau, who was joined by her husband, her parents and three children, said joining Pawlenty's ticket was an easy choice.
"Tim's agenda is my agenda," she said. "As a farmer, I know the difference between a workhorse and show horse. Tim Pawlenty is a workhorse."
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