Tim Pawlenty taps Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach as 2018 running mate

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty announced Thursday he has tapped current Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach to be his running mate in the 2018 election. 

Fischbach, a Republican from Paynesville, served in the Minnesota Senate for 22 years, including two terms as President of the Senate, before she was elevated to the role of lieutenant governor when Gov. Mark Dayton nominated previous lieutenant governor Tina Smith to the United States Senate.

Fischbach said she had conversations with Pawlenty about joining the ticket before she took the oath of office as lieutenant governor last week. She informed Dayton of her decision on Thursday morning, shortly before the announcement. 

Pawlenty said if elected, he envisions Fischbach’s role as one of a co-governor or co-leadership,with her taking the lead on policy issues such as higher education. While he was governor, his Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau served as the Department of Transportation Commissioner.  

Pawlenty made the announcement one day before the GOP state convention begins, which he has said he will not attend