Four candidates running for Minnesota state auditor on Nov. 8

Incumbent Julie Blaha (D), Ryan Wilson (R), Will Finn (Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party of Minnesota), and Tim Davis (Legal Marijuana Now Party) are running for Minnesota state auditor on Nov. 8, 2022.

Blaha was elected state auditor in 2018. She served as the secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the president of Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota, a local affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. Blaha said she is “committed to protecting local solutions and providing resources to local governments” and “is running for re-election to ensure Minnesotans can continue to make decisions that benefit their communities.”

Wilson worked as an entrepreneur and attorney. He founded and was CEO of a Minnesota-based auditing firm in the medical device industry. Wilson said he “decided to run for State Auditor after recent reports of significant fraud in Minnesota’s safety-net programs and the gross mismanagement of large infrastructure projects, and a disturbing regression in government transparency and accountability that Minnesotans have witnessed in recent years.”

MinnPost’s Peter Callaghan said environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policy was a key issue in the race. “So far, the issue has emerged in only one statewide Minnesota race. As one of four members of the State Board of Investment, the state auditor helps set policy for how the $130 billion in state funds are invested,” Callaghan said.

According to the Minnesota State Board of Investment’s website, the board “serves the State of Minnesota by investing the assets of state and local employee benefit plans, other public retirement savings plans, tax advantaged savings plans, and non-retirement assets.” The board comprises the governor, who serves as chair, the state auditor, the secretary of state, and the attorney general.

Blaha said there were “significant risks and…significant opportunities in how climate is changing and how we’re transitioning energy. The evidence is overwhelming, and it’s also common sense. How many of us are sinking our savings into coal right now?” Wilson said the state should “let the chief investment officer and the manager they work with be unleashed to get the best-possible return. The chief investment officer doesn’t need the state board of investments to tell them to take classes of assets off the table. We don’t need a partisan thumb on the scale.”

In the 2018 election, Blaha defeated Pam Myhra (R) 49.4%-43.2%. Rebecca Otto (D) served as state auditor before Blaha, assuming office in 2006.