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Minnesota state auditor candidates call for education, accountability

The State auditor's race seems to be in the background of Minnesota politics as election day approaches.

Nevertheless, Democratic-Farmer-Labor-backed candidate Julie Blaha and Republican Pam Myhra are both vying for the position.

Blaha said the most common question she's asked is simple: "What does the state auditor do?" Minnesota is one of 24 states that elects the position. The role focuses on local government oversight and involves auditing, reviewing, investigating, reporting and educating, the state website said.

Blaha is a first-time candidate with a background in education and a passion for local government. She is labor union secretary-treasurer at the AFL-CIO and former president of Anoka-Hennepin Education.

Myhra is a certified public accountant who served two terms as a state representative, according to her campaign website. She serves as president of the Minnesota Federation of Republican Women. Several interview requests to Myhra's campaign were not returned as of Friday afternoon.

Blaha said she is encouraged by the high number of first-time candidates and plans to prioritize education if she's elected. She said she wants local governments to understand the state auditor's role and feel comfortable utilizing the data.

She said she plans to update and collaborate on a closer level with local governments and prioritize pension safety.

Myhra's website places emphasis on accountability, transparency and independence and she said her "No. 1 priority will be to advocate for your interests and of all of Minnesota's taxpayers."

Blaha defeated Jon Tollefson and Jack Dickinson during the primary election. If Myhra is elected she will be the first republican state auditor in 12 years.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto has been in office since 2006 and was running for governor before dropping out of the race in June.

Libertarian Chris Dock and Legal Marijuana Now candidate Michael Ford are also running for the position.

A previous version of this story contained an error about whose website places emphasis on accountability, transparency and independence. The website belongs to Myhra.

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