Tom Horner is running for governor on Minnesota’s Independence Party ticket, but is he really just a better Republican than what the tea party has to offer? A native Minnesotan, Horner signed on to work for Dave Durenberger in 1978, and was his press secretary and chief of staff until 1985. U.S. Sen. Durenberger was a popular Republican whose three terms in the Senate began in a special election held after Sen. Hubert Humphrey passed away.
A founding partner in the public affairs firm Himle Horner since 1989, Horner has been an active community leader serving on a variety of boards including the Minnesota Land Trust, Catholic Charities and ServeMinnesota.
Horner supports putting teachers in charge of their classrooms (that means teachers, not unions). He says we should “trust teachers to figure out… how to spend education dollars,” although he doesn’t say whether No Child Left Behind plays a part in the calculation. Horner also supports “reducing taxes on job creation – for example, cut corporate income taxes, allow some small-business earnings to be tax-exempt.” (Tom Horner, StarTribune, July 31, 2010)
Although many of his positions are clearly rooted in his Republican background, Horner falls short of taking part in the extreme rhetoric of the tea party that many have witnessed on television and at public rallies. He seems to be more concerned with governance than with wedge issues and conspiracy theories characteristic of those who hang tea bags from their hats.
Independents and Republicans who feel misrepresented by the tea party will likely see Horner as the more mainstream Republican than Tom Emmer, whose campaign strategy brought more tea partiers than mainstream Republicans to the GOP Convention this year and won him the endorsement. If we’re ever going to find out for sure, however, Horner needs to win the Independence Party primary first.
1 November 2010 update: Please read The Great MN Governor’s Race 2010: Choices for Governor