Dayton picks Tina Smith as running mate

Gov. Mark Dayton announced chief of staff Tina Smith as his running mate for the 2014 election Tuesday morning.

“The campaign for an even better Minnesota starts today,” Smith said at a campaign rally Tuesday morning at the AFL-CIO headquarters in St. Paul.

Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon announced last month she would not be seeking re-election with Dayton, spurring a short search for a new companion.

At the conference, Dayton credited Smith for her work on smoothing the pathways to pass legislation to build the new Vikings stadium, as well as the Destination Medical Center in Rochester, Minn.

“She has the remarkable ability to draw people together,” he said.

Dayton and Smith have worked together since 2010, when Smith joined his governor campaign. She was named Dayton’s chief of staff shortly after he won the election. She also served as former Mayor R.T Rybak's chief of staff.

“There’s no one with this perspective or experience who’s ever been in this role before and we’re very excited about that,” said Ken Martin, the chair of the Minnesota DFL party.

Deputy chief of staff Jaime Tincher will take over Smith’s position.

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