Late this afternoon, longtime GOP pundit and strategist and successful PR pro Tom Horner filed papers to run for governor as an independent. Horner views the move as somewhat exploratory, because he wants to make sure he can raise the money to run a credible campaign.
On the phone tonight, he told me that it’s one thing for people encouraging him to run to say, “Great, Tom, I’m all behind you.” But it’s quite another thing for people to say, “Great, Tom, I’m all behind you, and here’s my check.”
Horner hopes his campaign will engage Minnesota, and says that in his view, it doesn’t make any difference who the Democrats and the Republicans end up with on the general election ballot. That’s not a reflection on the candidates as individuals, he notes, but rather that all the DFL and GOP candidates are so tied to their party’s platforms that it doesn’t matter. “Both parties go out of their way to undermine the success of the other,” he says, “and not necessarily to get things done.
“Can we afford to spend four years just treading water when the best we can hope for [if a DFLer or GOPer is elected] is stagnation?” he asked rhetorically.
Horner won’t be immediately releasing a list of supporters, although he says his former boss, former GOP U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger, is behind him. (Horner worked as both Durenberger’s press secretary and then his chief of staff.) Horner plans to spend the next few months building an organization and raising money.
We’ll have much more on Horner’s candidacy, along with an analysis of Joe Repya, the other Republican who filed to run for governor as an Independent, in tomorrow’s issue of the Weekly Report.