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The Carlson Endorsement of Horner..What Does It Mean?

Category: Tom Horner
Posted: 09/14/10 04:45

by Dave Mindeman

On a day when Mark Dayton was giving an extraordinarily detailed defense of his tax plan at the Humphrey Institute, the headlines centered around former Gov. Arne Carlson's endorsement of IP candidate Tom Horner.

Is that a big deal?

Depends.....on who you talk to.

The Horner campaign wants everyone to think it is. They are taking Arne with them on their political rounds. And I think former Gov. Carlson loves the attention. After all, the Minnesota GOP has been trying to portray Carlson as a Republican pariah for some time now.

Yet, the most interesting reaction came from the GOP themselves. They attacked the endorsement immediately with a desperate attempt to link Carlson as a supporter of Democrats; they quickly pointed to Carlson's endorsement of Obama during the 2008 cycle.

All of this seems to be leading to an internal GOP fight. The "new" Republican party of Emmer, Sutton, and Brodkorb have nearly ignored the moderate wing of the state GOP. It is as if that wing no longer exists. However, the official state party response would seem to indicate that they are, indeed, worried about losing something with this Carlson endorsement of Horner.

So....maybe they do exist after all?

Dayton was asked about the endorsement during his talk at the Institute, and his response was perfect:

"They're all Republicans."

Right now, Horner has benefitted most from a restless independent voter (small i) who has a natural distrust of both parties. Gov. Carlson has some pull with that group but they clearly still recognize Carlson as a Republican.

If the interest in Horner does increase, as it probably will temporarily, independents looking into the details of Tom Horner will also find a heavily Republican background. From his days as a GOP MPR consultant to his business support of Republicans, Horner has clearly been, (at least up till his sudden IP gubernatorial interest), a Republican.

Mark Dayton can stay out of that squabble. He has more important things to do......like winning an election.
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