Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a statement today that took dead aim at the Independence Party's Tom Horner but it may have more to do with Republican Tom Emmer's support among the GOP base.
1) Pawlenty has vocally supported Emmer's candidacy since Emmer received the endorsement in May.
2) Pawlenty has raised money for Emmer's campaign.
3) Polling has showed that Horner is eating into Emmer's base.
Why send out a statement like this unless there's concern that some Republicans are indicating that they won't back Emmer.
Here's the statement from Pawlenty (followed by a statement from Horner's campaign):
"Voters in Minnesota have a choice this fall: Either elect a new governor who will create jobs by rejecting tax hikes and out-of-control spending, or elect someone who will raise taxes and stop job creation.
"Nobody understands the danger of raising taxes better than Republicans, which is why my party is so energized in Minnesota and across the nation. Republicans of all stripes - moderate, conservative, and libertarian - agree with Tom Emmer's central principles: government must live within its means; we cannot raise taxes if we want to preserve existing jobs and create new jobs; and government must be reformed.
"I've known Tom Horner for 30 years, and while he's a decent man, his proposals to raise billions in new taxes and allow government to grow unsustainably will take Minnesota in the wrong direction. Any Republican who votes for Tom Horner is not only helping Mark Dayton become governor, but casting a vote to undo the tax and spending cuts we've fought so hard for over the last 8 years.
"These are challenging times for our country and state. If you are concerned about your future, about creating jobs, and moving our state forward, Tom Horner and Mark Dayton represent the same wrong choice. Tom Emmer is the only candidate for governor who will fight to ensure we create jobs in Minnesota and enjoy a better future."
Here's a statement from Horner spokesman Matt Lewis:
Gov. Pawlenty is a decent person, but his policies have left Minnesota with job creation that has lagged the nation during much of the last decade, in good years and bad. That's not a record Minnesota can afford in the next four years. The most telling part of the endorsement, though, is that the Republican nominee hasn't been able to secure the endorsement of a Republican governor until little more than three weeks left in the campaign. It speaks volumes about the reluctance of Gov. Pawlenty to jeopardize his national ambitions by tying himself to a gubernatorial candidate who increasingly is the choice only of Palin-Bachmann Republicans. We need to offer a vision that speaks to all Minnesotans to create new jobs in the private sector, to invest in our future, and to truly reform rather than continue to kick the can down the road.