Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer has won the Republican Party endorsement in the state’s governor’s race.

Emmer emerged victorious Friday after the second ballot at the state GOP convention. He defeated state Rep. Marty Seifert and is expected to be the GOP nominee in the race to replace outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Seifert, who pledged to abide by the state party’s endorsement and not run in the August primary, encouraged party activists to united behind Emmer. Democrats haven’t been so fortunate, as former Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) and former state Rep. Matt Entenza are challenging Democratic-Farmer Labor endorsee Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Kelliher won her party’s backing on April 24.

Pawlenty didn’t endorse either candidate, instead saying both would be good choices. Sarah Palin endorsed Emmer on the eve of the convention and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) was reportedly making calls on Emmer’s behalf.

Emmer lead Seifert 53 percent to 43 percent after the first ballot, with a candidate needing 60 percent to win the endorsement. After the other candidates withdrew, Emmer increased his lead, and Seifert conceded.