Longtime Democrat Mike Ciresi is endorsing Independence Party candidate Tom Horner for governor.
Ciresi ran twice as a Democrat for U.S. Senate. The first time was in 2000 when he lost in the primary to Mark Dayton. The second time was in 2008 when he dropped out of the race before the DFL state convention where Al Franken was endorsed.
Horner, a former Republican strategist and public relations executive, has attracted the support of a number of former Republican elected officials, including Gov. Arne Carlson. Ciresi is the first well known Democrat to publicly back Horner.
Some polls have suggested Horner is drawing more support from Republicans than Democrats.
Horner has been campaigning on a message that DFLer Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer represent political extremes and that he offers a middle ground approach to government.
Although Ciresi endorsed Horner for governor, Ciresi says he remains a Democrat and that he is supporting many Democrats this year. Ciresi said choosing to endorse Horner was an easy decision for him.
“The issues that I feel most passionately about education, health care and job growth are the issues that I think Tom speaks with greater clarity than Mark Dayton,” Ciresi said. “This is not a slight against Mark Dayton he’s a decent and great Minnesotan in my judgement, but Tom is the most qualified to lead this state.”
Ciresi said he thinks Horner will win the election and that Horner will be able to bring together people from all over the political spectrum.