The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee has announced its first slate of endorsements of legislative candidates.
The Chamber’s Leadership Fund is a frequent source of campaign cash for Republicans. The Chamber has also thrown its support behind two Senate DFLers from the western Minneapolis suburbs: Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, and Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope.
Some DFLers would be horrified to get the official backing from the state’s largest business group. But Bonoff was happy to get the Chamber’s nod.
“I’m proud to stand with the Chamber as we work to build a sustainable economic recovery that allows businesses to expand, prosper and create the jobs our state needs,” Bonoff said in a press release.
Bonoff has drawn applause from the business community and the enmity of the Education Minnesota teacher’s union by supporting alternative ways to allow mid-career professionals to obtain licenses to teach. The teacher licensure issue didn’t pass in 2010 and remains a priority for business interests at the Capitol.
Rest calls attention to the Chamber’s PAC support on her campaign website. Rest faces a DFL primary challenger from Patrick Wiles.
House GOP incumbent endorsees are: Steve Gottwalt, Mary Kiffmeyer, Ron Shimanki, Dean Urdahl, Bruce Anderson, Paul Torkelson, Bob Gunther, Tim Kelly, Steve Drazkowski, Connie Doepke, Mike Beard, Mark Buesgens, Pat Garofalo, Tara Mack, Jennifer Loon, Sarah Anderson, Peggy Scott, Tom Hackbarth, Matt Dean, Carol McFarlane and Denny McNamara.
House GOP challenger endorsees are: King Banaian (District 15B), Sondra Erickson (16A), Joe Schomacker (22A), Kelby Woodard (25B), Daniel Kaiser (26B), Kurt Bills (37B), Diane Anderson (38A), Pam Myhra (40A), Pat Mazerol (41B), Russell Bertsch (52B), Linda Runbeck (53A).
Senate GOP incumbent endorsees include: Michelle Fischbach, Amy Koch, Julie Rosen, Minority Leader Dave Senjem, Claire Robling, Geoff Michel, David Hann, Mike Jungbauer and Ray Vandeveer.
Endorsed Senate GOP challengers are: John Carson (District 4), John Pederson (15), Sean Nienow (17), Al DeKruif (25), Jeremy Miller (31), Ted Daley (38), Benjamin Kruse (47) and Roger Chamberlain (53).
The Chamber’s endorsement criteria aren’t limited to voting records. The Chamber employs a set of five criteria that can also consider a legislator’s efforts to stop proposals unfavorable to business from coming to a vote. The PAC also reviews a candidate questionnaire and input from local chambers.
It remains to be seen if the Chamber will endorse a House DFLer. The Chamber hasn’t endorsed in every race yet because some questionnaires and local chamber responses haven’t been received yet.
The Chamber plans to announce more endorsements for the Legislature and the governor’s race around Labor Day.