ST. PAUL -- Few Minnesotans knew Tom Emmer a year ago, but now he will carry the Republican Party banner in the governor's race.
Rep. Marty Seifert conceded at 4:46 p.m., giving Emmer the party's endorsement.
The announcement came after the second ballot gave Emmer a 56-43 percent lead.
"Today we begin a journey to take back our state and take back our country," Emmer said, adding that his candidacy is a new chapter in Republican history.
Like U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said earlier in the day, Emmer told delegates that government is involved in every aspect of American lives. And he left no doubt that disturbed him, and delegates agreed.
"Now is also the time for a new style of leadership: leadership base don principles, out principles of smaller government, individual liberty and economic freedom," he said Emmer said he will "change the culture of government" to make it work for the public instead of dictating to Americans.
The 49-year-old father of seven said Minnesotans no longer should "tolerate political games. We need leaders who have a lifetime of experiences outside of government,"
Emmer supporters have complained that Seifert's seven terms in the Legislature, on top of working for schools and a university, mean he is too connected to government.
"We need servant leaders who will negotiate on behalf of the people and not on behalf of government," Emmer said.
Emmer emphasized his background in the private world, from being jack-hammer operator to running his own law office. "My experience is real life experience and I believe that if we are to transform government in this state and create an environment that is attractive to investment and opportunity... the next governor should have first-hand experience with the daily challenges of running a small business and creating jobs."
Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.