Rebecca Otto

Rebecca Otto
18th Auditor of Minnesota
Assumed office
January 2, 2007
Governor Tim Pawlenty
Mark Dayton
Preceded by Patricia Anderson
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 52B district
In office
January 2003  January 2005
Preceded by Mark Holsten
Succeeded by Matt Dean
Personal details
Born (1963-07-09) July 9, 1963
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Shawn Otto
Alma mater Macalester College
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Rebecca Otto (born July 9, 1963) is the State Auditor of the U.S. state of Minnesota. She is affiliated with the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). She also served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003–2005 and on the Forest Lake School Board. Before entering politics, she was a science teacher and previous to that a business owner. She lives on a farm near Marine on St. Croix with her husband, Shawn Lawrence Otto, a screen play writer, novelist and science advocate. She is the third woman to serve as State Auditor, the first woman Democrat to be elected to the post, the first Democrat ever to be re-elected, and the first woman to be elected to a third term. In 2013 she became president of the National State Auditors Association and in 2014 was named one of 15 Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing.[1]

Political career

Otto initially led a successful school levy campaign in Forest Lake, and then was elected to the Forest Lake School Board. In her first race for the Minnesota State House in 2002, she was defeated by incumbent Mark Holsten. However, the seat opened after Holsten was appointed to the office of Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources by Governor Tim Pawlenty. A Special Election was scheduled to fill the vacancy. Otto ran for the House seat again and defeated opponent Matt Dean in that Special Election.[2]

Later in 2003, Otto and her husband, Shawn Lawrence Otto were indicted by a grand jury for allegedly distributing false campaign material, a misdemeanor. She replied that the charges, filed by House Speaker Steve Sviggum, a Republican, were politically motivated and baseless.[3] She was supported by a number of individuals, including former Governor Arne Carlson, a Republican, who signed a letter criticizing the indictment as politically motivated. In December 2003, the indictment was criticized by the judge as improper. The judge dismissed the charges and struck down the campaign finance law being used in the prosecution as unconstitutional. Otto lost her re-election bid in 2004 to opponent, Matt Dean.

Otto declared her candidacy for State Auditor in March 2005 and ran against Republican incumbent Patricia Anderson. She won the DFL endorsement and, after discovering hundreds of millions of dollars in errors made by Anderson,[4] she won the general election in 2006 by the largest margin of victory over an incumbent in 112 years (since 1894). Republican former Governor and State Auditor Arne Carlson supported Otto in the 2006 election. She was also endorsed by two other former State Auditors, Mark Dayton (DFL), and Judi Dutcher (Republican in her first term, switched to DFL in the middle of her second term). In 2010, she was re-elected to a second term in a rematch against Anderson, surviving what many refer to as the US national Republican wave by 25,483 votes, while also facing opposition from two minor party candidates who took votes on her left. She ran for a third term in 2014. On June 3, 2014, former politician Matt Entenza filed papers to challenge Otto in the Minnesota DFL primary for the nomination to appear on the November ballot. Although Entenza spent over $758,000 (including $734,000 of his own money) on the campaign, outspending Otto more than four to one, Otto "crushed" Entenza's challenge with an astounding 81%-19%, an unheard-of result for a hotly-contested race.[5] Then she won the General Election in November easily, gaining 52% of the vote, with 4 opponents splitting the other 48%.

Awards and honors

Electoral history


Minnesota House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Holsten
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 52B district

Succeeded by
Matt Dean
Political offices
Preceded by
Patricia Anderson
Auditor of Minnesota
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