The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership PAC announced today that is was backing Republican Tom Emmer’s bid for governor. The board announced the endorsement after it held private screenings with Emmer and IP candidate Tom Horner. The Chamber news release says Democrat Mark Dayton declined to be screened for the endorsement.
“Tom Emmer is the candidate who best meets our criteria and will make an outstanding governor,” said Steve McCulloch in a news release. McCulloch of St. Louis Park is a member of the Minnesota Chamber Leadership Fund Political Action Committee. “Emmer is the candidate who best represents the Minnesota Chamber’s pro-business, pro-jobs agenda and is most electable. His message will resonate with all Minnesotans, because it’s common-sense, especially during a challenging economy.”
The PAC Board said it was impressed with how Emmer would address the state’s projected $5.8 billion budget deficit. Emmer has released a list of spending targets but failed to outline specific cuts.
McCulloch also criticized Dayton’s approach to balancing the budget. Dayton suggested raising income taxes on Minnesota’s top earners to fix part of the state’s budget deficit.
“Minnesota cannot afford a Mark Dayton Administration,” he said. “The business community is unified in stopping his agenda of tax increases that would put all businesses at a disadvantage in today’s global marketplace and, as a result, cripple Minnesota’s economy just when a shot in the arm is needed.”
The Chamber’s decision doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering Chamber President David Olson has already formed a PAC that has endorsed Emmer’s campaign. MN Forward has run ads criticizing Dayton and praising Emmer.
Update: Horner released this statement on the Chamber’s decision:
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising that the Minnesota Chamber would endorse the Republican-endorsed candidate,” Horner said. “They have been doing that for decades.
“The Chamber and its political action committee have invested significant resources in Emmer’s candidacy, and it would be astonishing if they walked away from their chosen candidate a month before the election,” he said.
“I am pleased that we are giving the Chamber and other organizations a lot to think about and that many, like the Minnesota Medical Political Action Committee, an affiliate of the Minnesota Medical Association, and individual business leaders are stepping forward, putting Minnesota’s long-term interests first, and endorsing Tom Horner.”