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Today, the Star Tribune — Minnesota’s largest and most influential newspaper — has an extraordinary editorial that speaks to the core issues in Minnesota’s 2010 gubernatorial race and whose thesis encapsulates what has been Independence Party candidate Tom Horner’s key message from the outset: If Minnesotans want bold leadership in the governor’s office, it has to start with bold leadership from voters on Election Day, Nov. 2.

Tom Horner for Minnesota Governor
Tom Horner (Photo: Horner for Governor)

The ideas and proposals referenced in the Star Tribune editorial (reproduced below in full, in the public interest) are available on Horner’s campaign website,


This November, the Choice is Not Either/Or

Serious consideration of all three gubernatorial candidates is due

The Editorial Board
Star Tribune
September 12, 2010

The most important election for governor in decades is less than two months away. It comes at a time of rapid economic, demographic and social change in Minnesota. A wrong move now in state policy could erode the prosperity that several generations sacrificed to achieve.

It’s too soon for us to recommend one candidate for governor. Campaigns matter, and we want this one to play out well into October before we make our endorsement.

But after watching a full month of general-election campaigning, we’re issuing a challenge to moderate Minnesota voters seeking a break from polarization. A genuine three-way race is on. 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. 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.

This isn’t a typical year in Minnesota politics. And it isn’t typical of this newspaper to put an editorial on the Opinion Exchange section cover. But extraordinary times warrant a break with usual patterns.

Two developments since the Aug. 10 primary have earned Horner consideration alongside DFLer Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer, despite the comparatively small size of his party.

The first is Horner’s release of a well-crafted, credible answer to the giant question urgently confronting the next governor: How will you balance the state budget?

A deficit projected at $5.8 billion, or 15 percent of the cost of current state commitments in 2012-13, demands a swift gubernatorial response next year.

Among the three candidates, Horner’s budget plan is the most detailed and sensible to date. It relies on new revenues (from both income and sales taxes) and spending restraint to close the gap. It also outlines reform measures on both the tax and spending sides of the ledger that would mitigate the negative impact of higher taxes on the economy, and of reduced spending on the reach and quality of government services.

The centerpiece of Horner’s tax plan — expansion of the sales tax to clothing and enough personal services to allow for a reduction in the sales tax rate — is something this newspaper has backed for almost 20 years.

The second recent development pertains to a more political question: Can he win? Since Aug. 10, Horner’s campaign has ramped up dramatically. His fundraising tally has jumped 45 percent in the past two weeks over the previous two-week period, giving him a greater ability to buy ads on TV. That’s an impressive early showing for a third-party candidate.

The ability to advertise statewide on television is no guarantee of electoral success. But without it, a third-party candidate is sure to be relegated to also-ran or spoiler status. Horner now appears poised to move beyond that standing and to be seen along with Dayton and Emmer as someone who could conceivably be elected.

Horner’s next challenge is to convince independent-minded voters that their votes won’t be wasted, or that a strong Horner showing won’t boost their least-favorite candidate. Those voters should know, judging from polling to date, that it’s not clear whether DFLer Dayton or Republican Emmer would be more disadvantaged by a strong Horner showing.

They should also consider the opportunity the Horner candidacy offers them to take a stand against the ideological inflexibility afflicting both big political parties in recent years, in Minnesota and the nation. Horner is inviting Minnesotans to simultaneously reject both the specter of class warfare on one hand and antigovernment dogma on the other.


9/13/05 Breaking News

Governor Carlson endorses, travels state with Horner

Former Gov. Arne Carson endorses Tom Horner

This morning former Minnesota Governor Arne H. Carlson endorsed Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner.

Gov. Carlson gave Horner his enthusiastic support on KARE-11 TV’s Sunrise program before heading to press conferences in Rochester, St. Cloud, and the steps of the State Capitol.

Following a press conference coinciding with a public meet and greet in Rochester, Gov. Carlson and Horner will travel by bus to the south steps of the Capitol for a major press conference.

Join Horner 2010 for today’s public events:

Rochester Art Center, Grand Lobby — 9 a.m. press conference

State Capitol, south steps — 12 p.m. press conference

St. Cloud Public Library, Mississippi Room — 3 p.m.

In his announcement, Gov. Carlson cited Minnesota’s dire financial situation. He pointed out that the current record $5.8 billion deficit is the product of poor fiscal management dating back to 2003, when lawmakers began to rely on one-time money to fix long-term budget holes rather than make the tough decisions necessary to address the structural shortfall.

Carlson said Horner’s budget plan is a mix of “realism and redesign” and that Horner is the only candidate in the race who has the vision, plan, and capabilities to restore financial integrity to the state.

“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,” said Carlson.



9/14/10 Update

Former Gov. Carlson backs Horner in gubernatorial race

Independence Party candidate for governor Tom Horner (left) listens as former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson endorses him Monday, Sept. 13, in St. Cloud. (Photo: Mike Knaak / St. Cloud Times)

Read the story at the St. Cloud Times


10/5/10 Update

Third Party Candidate Surges in Minnesota Governor’s Race

Photo: Third Party Candidate Surges in Minnesota Governor's Race: Tom Horner Stakes Out Middle Ground in Polarized Election, But Can He Win?
Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner looks at a robotic device shown to him by CEO Patrick McKinnery during a campaign visit to Minnesota-based Recon Robotics in Edina, Minnesota, in this Sept. 14, 2010 file photo. Horner, a former Republican, hopes enough Minnesotans are disenchanted with the increasingly polarized two-part system to make him a viable candidate. (Photo credit: Jim Mone /AP)

By Devin Dwyer

October 5, 2010

In an election year dominated by polarized politics, candidates staking out the middle ground haven’t gained much momentum with voters. But in Minnesota, an independent candidate for governor is bucking the trend.

Tom Horner, a 60-year-old public relations executive who’s never held office, has overcome virtual obscurity among voters in recent weeks and surged in the polls, to position himself as a viable third-party contender.

Although Horner trails Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer by double digits, his support has climbed steadily to around 17 percent of likely voters, causing many observers to wonder whether he can follow in the footsteps of Jesse Ventura.

Twelve years ago Ventura, the pro-wrestler-turned Reform Party candidate for governor, mounted a come-from-behind victory over Republican Norm Coleman to win the state’s top job — a feat that has gone unmatched by any third-party candidate elsewhere in the nation, since Ventura left office in 2003.

Horner is in a similar position in the polls as Ventura was in early October 1998. And aides say the steady flow of campaign donations and endorsements from prominent state moderates are signs his candidacy is on the rise.

Former two-term Gov. Arne Carlson and three-term Sen. Dave Durenberger, both Republican moderates, have endorsed Horner. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the state’s largest newspaper, has also given him glowing reviews, calling him a “serious contender” who “deserves full consideration.” …

Meanwhile, polls show large numbers of Minnesota voters remain undecided about their choice for governor, and neither Dayton nor Emmer has broken out with a clear majority. The situation reflects moderate voters’ relative distaste for their choices, experts say.

“I don’t think you’ll find a starker choice anywhere in the U.S.,” said Steven Schier, political science professor at Carleton College, in Northfield, Minn.

“In Minnesota, you win elections by running to the middle,” Horner recently told the Associated Press. “In this race, you have a Democrat and a Republican who are trying to win without doing that, who represent the extreme ends of their parties. There’s a big opening left for us to walk right into.” …

Full story


10/24/10 Update


Tom Horner is receiving endorsements from all of the major newspapers in Minnesota, including the Star Tribune, the Duluth News Tribune, and the St. Cloud Times, and from many smaller local papers across the state. Click here or on the image below for more information and links to the endorsements.


Related reports on this site

Tom Horner at the State Fair (Aug. 30, 2010)

‘Eyeballs’ — Tom Horner TV Ad (Aug. 23, 2010)

Tom Horner Speaks in St. Cloud (Aug. 16, 2010)

Tom Horner for Minnesota Governor (Aug. 9, 2010)

Vote Tom Horner in Aug. 10 Primary (Aug. 2, 2010)

Horner 2010 Gains Momentum (July 19, 2010)

Horner Campaign at Granite City (June 26, 2010)

Tom Horner Rises in the Polls (June 8, 2010)

Tom Horner’s Statewide Swing (May 12, 2010)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — September 12, 2009

Al Eisele Pans Michele Bachmann

Rep. Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: MSNBC / MinnPost)
Rep. Michele Bachmann
(Photo credit: MSNBC / MinnPost)

One year ago today, I reported that veteran journalist Al Eisele of the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill made astute first-hand observations of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s behavior from the gallery at President Barack Obama’s Sept. 10, 2009 address on health care reform before a Joint Session of Congress, noting that he had “never seen anyone display the disdainful attitude toward a president” that Bachmann did.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — September 12, 2008

‘08 Deadliest for US

Shiite followers of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demonstrated against plans for a U.S.-Iraqi status-of-forces agreement, burning American and Israeli flags and chanting, “No, America, no! No, agreement, no!” (Associated Press file photo of earlier demonstration)

Two years ago today, on the third day after losing my 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I reported that the death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan on September 11 brought the year’s death toll to 112, surpassing the 2007 record toll of 111 and making 2008 the deadliest for American forces in Afghanistan since the U.S. invaded the country in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I also reported that Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee, “I’m not convinced we are winning in Afghanistan.” Meanwhile, in Iraq, followers of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demonstrated against plans for a U.S.-Iraq status-of-forces agreement, burning U.S. and Israeli flags.

10 Responses to “Strib: Horner ‘Serious Contender’”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Tom Horner at the State Fair Says:

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  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » ‘Eyeballs’ — Tom Horner TV Ad Says:

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  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Tom Horner Speaks in St. Cloud Says:

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  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Tom Horner for MN Governor Says:

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  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Vote Tom Horner Aug. 10 Primary Says:

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  6. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Tom Horner Townhall in St. Joe Says:

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  7. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Horner Endorsements Rolling In Says:

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  8. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Vote Tom Horner for Governor Says:

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  10. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq War Update — Muqtada al-Sadr: ‘Stop Killing Americans’ Says:

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