Tom Emmer took a solid lead on the first ballot to determine Minnesota’s Republican governor candidate.
Emmer drew 53 percent (1,067 votes) to Seifert’s 43 percent (865 votes) after ballots were counted just before 3 p.m. Long-shot candidates and blank ballots accounted for the rest.
GOP rules require 60 percent (1,196 votes) to win, so it appeared the Minnesota Republican convention would move on to a second ballot.
Emmer dominated the heavily populated Twin Cities area, while Seifert did better in rural areas.
Both candidates are state representatives. Emmer lives in Delano, in the western Twin Cities. Seifert is from Marshall in southwestern Minnesota.
Going into today’s vote, Seifert was concerned that not enough rural delegates would make the trip to Minneapolis to vote for him.
On Thursday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin offered her support to Emmer via a Facebook letter.