Will it be Dayton vs. Dayton’s (Target) in November?

The campaign finance reports released today show some rich irony. There are three independent groups that report raising $2.4 million and the Dayton name keeps coming up.

One of the groups, MN Forward, is being funded by a variety of Minnesota businesses. They include Target Corporation, the company founded but no longer owned by Democrat Mark Dayton’s family. Target gave $150,000 in cash and in-kind donations to the group.

MN Forward says it will support businesses minded politicians, but one of the group’s founders, Minnesota Business Partnership Executive Director Charlie Weaver, has indicated his support for Republican Tom Emmer. That means MN Forward, funded by Target Corporation, may be running ads ripping Mark Dayton, heir to the Dayton’s Department Store fortune that created Target, if Dayton is the DFL nominee. Dayton has never worked for Target and has no ties to the company.

Brian McClung, the director of MN Forward, has this to say about the possibility that Target Corporation is funding a group that could be running ads criticizing Dayton if he’s the DFL nominee:

“You know I hadn’t really thought about that to be honest with you,” McClung said. “I’ll leave the analysis and irony to others.”


Two DFL leaning PACs, Win Minnesota and The 2010 Fund, have collected $901,000 in contributions from Mark Dayton’s family members. Alida Messinger is Dayton’s ex-wife (and an heir to the Rockefeller family). Andrew Dayton is Mark Dayton’s son. David Dayton is Mark Dayton’s first cousin and Mary Lee Dayton is Mark Dayton’s aunt.

Dayton released a written statement on his family members decision to give to the independent group:

“They are, of course, entirely free to contribute to whomever and whatever they choose. They do not consult with me about any of their contributions (other than to me); and I do not consult with them about any of their contributions (other than to me).”

As for the prospects of Target Corporation spending money on ads critical of Dayton, Dayton’s campaign spokesman Katie Tinucci says Dayton expected it.

“Highly paid, corporate executives know that Mark means what he says and takes them seriously when he says he’ll make them pay their fair share in taxes.”

Tinucci also said Dayton expects to see an “onslaught of corporate money” coming into the race.

  • Jon

    I seem to recall that when Dayton ran for Senate, the largest corporation against him then was Target Corp (presumably, that would have been donations of execs/employees who listed Target Corp as employer). I always thought that was sad.

  • William Zwart

    No self-respecting human being who supports gay rights should ever shop at Target again.