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Anoka County’s Sivarajah takes on Emmer for GOP endorsement in 6th District

Board Chair Rhonda Sivarajah on Wednesday announced her candidacy, saying that she is “uniquely qualified to get the job done.”

“I think I certainly have a history of accomplishment,” Sivarajah said. “I have been able to take what people would think of as nearly impossible, coming on the county board as a minority of one and I’ve been able to successfully turn that around, have a conservative majority, then implement various changes throughout the county.”
MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday

Another county is heard from in the contest to represent the sprawling and heavily GOP 6th Congressional District, an open seat following Michele Bachmann’s decision not to seek another term.

Anoka County Board Chair Rhonda Sivarajah on Wednesday announced her candidacy for the Republican endorsement, saying that she is “uniquely qualified to get the job done.” 

Sivarajah becomes the second Republican candidate for the seat, joining former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer of Delano, in Wright County. Republican state Sen. John Pederson of St. Cloud, in Stearns County, has said he intends to file as a candidate by the end of the month.

Sivarajah has faced Emmer before in an endorsement contest, competing as the lieutenant-governor running mate of Marty Seifert, who lost the GOP nomination to Emmer in 2010.  She did not refer to that experience in her announcement, instead touting her track record on the Anoka County Board.

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At an auto repair shop in Ham Lake owned by one of her supporters, Sivarajah noted that she has “delivered conservative results.”

Under her tenure, she said, Anoka County lowered property taxes, privatized a county job training center and ended the prevailing-wage requirement for taxpayer-funded projects.

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin, in a statement, described Sivarajah as “a voice of dissent in efforts to move Anoka county forward.”

Sivarajah, though, is forceful in claiming successes.

“I think I certainly have a history of accomplishment,” she said. “I have been able to take what people would think of as nearly impossible, coming on the county board as a minority of one and I’ve been able to successfully turn that around, have a conservative majority, then implement various changes throughout the county.”

Sivarajah quickly scooped up an endorsement from Voices of Conservative Women. “Rhonda blazed a trail as chairwoman of the Anoka County Board and we are looking forward to seeing great things from her as she moves her campaign forward,” said Voices President Jennifer DeJournett in an email statement.

Fellow county board members, several area state legislators, political activist and attorney John Gilmore and former Republican Party chair Pat Shortridge attended the announcement.  

Shortridge said he was there as “a friend” and has not committed to supporting any candidate.  He also said he hasn’t ruled out running for the seat himself.

Gilmore predicted a primary contest, saying  that in a district as solidly Republican as the 6th, “Voters should be given a variety of candidates to choose from.”

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Sivarajah acknowledged the possibility of a primary. “I plan to seek the endorsement,” she said, “and I’ve not made a decision” on whether to run if not endorsed.