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Endorsement: Horner is the right choice for Minnesota

The last thing Minnesotans need is four more years of the partisan gridlock that has blocked sensible solutions to the state's serious financial problems. Blame Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty or blame the Democratic majorities in the Legislature. It doesn't matter. Extreme partisanship has prevented political compromise.

It's time for change. It's time for a return to a Minnesota where politicians can reach across the partisan divide for the good of all Minnesotans. It's time for a leader in the governor's mansion who will be the catalyst for bipartisan compromise.

Tom Horner, Independence Party candidate, has the temperament and political savvy to change the political climate. Steeped in conservative Republican tradition, Horner opted to go the Independence Party route when he realized the state Republican Party had drifted too far to the right. The selection of ultra-conservative legislator Tom Emmer as the party's standard-bearer confirmed Horner's conclusions.

On the other end of the political spectrum, Minnesota's DFLers endorsed a candidate who subsequently was knocked out of the arena in the primary by former Sen. Mark Dayton, arguably the most liberal politician in the state. As Republicans went too far to the right, Democrats went too far to the left with a candidate who is both a failed U.S. senator and a supporter of policies far out of the mainstream.

The vast majority of Minnesotans -- whether Republican or Democrat -- fall between ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal dogmas, as does Tom Horner. He's not anti-government, nor does he believe government is a savior. He brings a lifetime of business sense to his candidacy. His experience in Republican politics began during his work with Sen. David Durenberger. While in the private sector, he also was a prominent political analyst, taking the right-of-center position.

Horner has secured endorsements from former Gov. Arnie Carlson, former GOP lawmaker George Pillsbury (the Pillsbury food products family) and former North Dakota Gov. Allen Olson, who after leaving North Dakota was executive with a Minnesota banking association.

Emmer has taken policy positions which would further damage greater Minnesota cities and schools. Dayton's one-note solution to, it seems, almost everything is to tax "the rich," whom he describes as middle-class Minnesotans making $250,000. Neither man will be able to work with the other side at the Legislature.

Horner is unfettered by political baggage. He is willing to be the lightning rod for criticism if it means building legislative coalitions that get Minnesota moving in the right direction again.  He's the right choice for governor.