Former GOP Gov. Al Quie announced today that he's supporting the Independence Party's Tom Horner in the race for governor. Quie is the second former Republican governor to support Horner's campaign. Arne Carlson is also backing Horner. Quie says he likes Horner's budget plan, his plan to improve the achievement gap in schools and his plan to invest in infrastructure. He said Horner will do a better job for the state than Republican Tom Emmer or Democrat Mark Dayton.
"Now as I look at the candidates for governor," Quie said. "I look at their solutions and I come down on the side of Tom Horner."
Horner has been peeling away support from Emmer's Republican base. Several former legislators and at least one Republican mayor say they're backing Horner because they consider Emmer's budget plan "too extreme." Quie said he was prepared for criticism from his Republican colleagues.
"If a person who votes for a Republican who is now running as an Independent and if that makes him a RINO (Republican In Name Only), I plead guilty. What I tell all of the candidates in the Republican Party is that you're not electing the Republican Party, you're electing a person."
Quie was backing Marty Seifert before he lost the GOP endorsement to Emmer.
Quie's endorsement now means two of the three living Republican governors in Minnesota are backing Horner's campaign. The announcement comes just days before Republcan Governor Tim Pawlenty will hit the campaign trail for Emmer.
MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton says he's disappointed by Quie's endorsement of Horner. Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton said Quie's endorsement doesn't represent the vast majority of Republicans.