Rebecca Otto

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Rebecca Otto
Rebecca Otto.jpg
18th Minnesota State Auditor
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
Preceded by Mark Holsten
Succeeded by Matt Dean
Personal details
Born (1963-07-09) July 9, 1963 (age 51)
Political party Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Spouse(s) Shawn Lawrence Otto
Residence Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota
Profession teacher, real estate, entrepreneur, former state representative

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 filmmaker, novelist and science advocate. She is the third woman to serve as State Auditor, the first female DFLer to be elected to the post, and the first Democrat to be re-elected. 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.

Political career[edit]

Otto initially led a successful school levy campaign in Forest Lake, and then was elected to the Forest Lake school board with broad support. 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. Despite a heavily Republican tilt to the district, Otto defeated Matt Dean in the special election.[1]

Later in 2003, Otto and her husband were indicted by a grand jury for allegedly distributing false campaign material, a misdemeanor. She replied that the charges, filed by then-House Speaker Steve Sviggum, a Republican, were politically motivated and baseless.[2] She was supported by a number of individuals, including former Republican Governor Arne Carlson, who signed a letter criticizing the indictment as politically motivated. In December 2003, the indictment was criticized by the judge as improper, the charges were dismissed by the court, and part of the law was stricken as unconstitutional. The charges, however, impacted her campaign and she lost her re-election bid in 2004.

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 financial errors made by Anderson,[3] she won the general election in 2006 by the largest margin of victory over an incumbent in 112 years (since 1894). Former Governor Carlson, who had crossed party lines to support her during her legal ordeals, also switched his support from Anderson to Otto in the 2006 election. She was also endorsed by two other former state auditors of both parties, Mark Dayton and Judi Dutcher. In 2010, she was re-elected to a second term in a rematch against Anderson, surviving the Republican wave by 25,483 votes, also facing opposition from two minor party candidates who took votes on her left. She is running for a third term in 2014.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2014 Named one of 15 Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing by the Institute of Internal Auditors, the international auditing professional organization. In naming her the group cited the "courage, integrity, and leadership necessary to confront and overcome political and public pressures."[4]
  • 2013 Elected by her nonpartisan peers to be President of the National State Auditors Association.[5]
  • 2010 Received the Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association,[6] for her work overhauling state fire laws. Otto is the sixth person and first Constitutional Officer to receive the group's high honor.
  • 2009 Recipient of the The National State Auditors Association[8] "Excellence in Accountability Award" for her special project "Best Practices Review: Reducing Energy Costs in Local Government"[9]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2010 MN State Auditor
    • Rebecca Otto (DFL) (inc.), 48.39%
    • Patricia Anderson (R), 47.13%
    • Annie Young (G), 2.67%
    • Kenny Kalligher (GR), 1.75%
  • 2006 MN State Auditor
    • Rebecca Otto (DFL), 52%
    • Patricia Anderson (R) (inc.), 41%
    • Lucy Gerold (IP), 5%
    • Dave Berger (G), 2%
  • 2004 MN State House Seat 52B
    • Matt Dean (R), 51.59%
    • Rebecca Otto (DFL) (inc.), 48.32%
  • 2003 MN State House Seat 52B (Special Election)
    • Rebecca Otto (DFL), 54.30%
    • Matt Dean (R), 43.47%
  • 2002 MN State House Seat 52B
    • Mark Holsten (R) (inc.), 58.75%
    • Rebecca Otto (DFL), 41.17%


  1. ^ "Rebecca Otto will make 2nd bid for House 52B". Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Rep. Otto, husband indicted on election issue charges". Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ "State Auditor corrects report after Rebecca Otto points out $180.1 million error". Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ "IIA Launches American Center for Government Auditing". Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Rebecca Otto named President of National State Auditors Association". Retrieved Dec 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Auditor Rebecca Otto gets Minnesota fire chiefs' award". Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ "National Women's History Project". Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  8. ^ "The National State Auditors Association". NASACT. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Auditor’s report wins national accountability award". May 11, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Patricia Anderson
Minnesota State Auditor
2007 –
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mark Holsten
Minnesota State Representative – 52B District
Succeeded by
Matt Dean