Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner got a double dose of good news over the weekend. The Star Tribune’s editorial board wrote a glowing opinion of Horner’s candidacy, and though it stopped short of endorsing him, the paper left little to the imagination as to who the paper will pick for Nov. 2. Then, this morning, former Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed Horner’s candidacy.
“Independence Party candidate Tom Horner ranks as a serious contender, and he deserves full consideration by Minnesotans who in more ordinary times might not look at a third-party candidate,” the Strib’s editorial board wrote. “That’s especially true of those who value a more centrist, pragmatic approach to governing than has so far been offered up by the GOP and DFL candidates.”
The paper says that the GOP’s Tom Emmer is too far to the right and the DFL’s Mark Dayton is too far to the left.
On the paper’s news side, reporter Baird Helgeson notes that some business leaders who would have backed a GOP candidate in the past are lining up behind Horner. As Helgeson notes, many who would have ordinarily backed Emmer – and who backed Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s two runs for the office – are finding Emmer too extreme or are concerned about his lack of details in addressing Minnesota’s massive budget deficit.
“For the first time in my life, I have not blindly supported the Republican candidate for governor,” said Tom Merickel, a vice president with Taylor Corp. told the Star Tribune. “There’s nothing wrong with electing the most qualified person to be governor. If it means stepping away, momentarily, from the Republican Party, then so be it.”
MinnPost’s Doug Grow notes that the paper didn’t know until the last minute that both pieces would appear in the paper at the same time because of the separation between news and opinion parts of the paper.
Monday morning brought news that Carlson, who governed as a Republican, is throwing his weight behind Horner. The duo will travel to St. Cloud, Rochester and St. Paul today to spread the announcement Carlson first made on KARE-11 Sunrise. He believes Horner is the best candidate to help the state out of its economic woes and said the state’s deficit is the result of years of bad fiscal mismanagement in Minnesota government.
“If you believe, as I do, that our problems are too large and the other candidates too extreme to be trusted with the future of the state, this election demands we take another path,” Carlson said in a statement.