HAM LAKE, Minnesota — Rhonda Sivarajah, the head of Anoka County's governing board, entered the race Wednesday for the congressional seat being vacated by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Declaring her candidacy inside an auto-repair shop run by a supporter, Sivarajah stressed her credentials as a fiscal conservative and someone who has little desire to seize the spotlight.
"We need someone who will actually fight to get things done, who will make our conservative principles a reality," Sivarajah, a Republican, said. "Washington is full of people who talk and talk and talk. We need to send people there who can actually deliver real results."
It was a subtle contrast to Bachmann, whose penchant for making provocative comments has earned her the adoration of the far right and the scorn of the political left. It could also be a line of distinction between her and GOP competitor Tom Emmer, the former state lawmaker who has been a radio talk show host since leaving office.
The Republican field now features two players from the 2010 governor's race. Emmer was his party's 2010 nominee for governor. Sivarajah was the running mate to a GOP lawmaker whom Emmer beat in an endorsing contest that year.
Sivarajah, 47, said she would seek the GOP endorsement for the 6th Congressional District seat, but she didn't rule out running in an August primary if she doesn't win the backing of party convention delegates next spring.
The party has strong Republican leanings. Bachmann isn't seeking a fifth term.
Sivarajah has served as a county commissioner since 2003 and has spent the last two years as its chairwoman. She lives in Lino Lakes with her husband and two children.
The field could still grow. State Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, has said he is likely to run and others considering campaigns include GOP Reps. Matt Dean of Dellwood and Tim Sanders of Blaine, veterans advocate Pete Hegseth and political consultant and former Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Pat Shortridge.
On the Democratic side, Circle Pines environmental activist Judy Adams says she's running.
Sartell Mayor Joe Perske said Wednesday that he is getting encouragement to enter the race and has been consulting with party officials and past candidates. City officials don't run with party designations, but Perske said he would run for Congress as a Democrat.
"I've never had letters behind my name before. I've never been a party candidate," Perske said. "I consider myself a zealous moderate."