State Chamber endorses Johnson, jabs at Dayton
Minneapolis -- The political action committee for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Republican Jeff Johnson in his bid to unseat DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.
Minneapolis - The political action committee for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Republican Jeff Johnson in his bid to unseat DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.
In a Friday statement, interim President Bill Blazar said Johnson “is the candidate who best represents the Minnesota Chamber’s pro-business, pro-jobs agenda.” Blazar also is treasurer of the business group’s Leadership Fund PAC.
Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, and Dayton both interviewed with the chamber board. The statement from Blazar said chamber leaders appreciated Dayton’s interest in meeting with the group, but criticized him for “enacting some of the highest tax rates in the nation, and increasing labor mandates and regulations on employers.”
The chamber typically backs Republicans, and in 2010 endorsed the GOP’s Tom Emmer over Dayton in the governor’s race.
But Dayton also has forged public alliances with some of the state’s most prominent business leaders, as when he recruited Richard Davis, Doug Baker and Marilyn Carlson Nelson to lead Minnesota’s successful effort to land the 2018 Super Bowl.
Though it’s no shock the chamber would endorse another Republican, the group’s public support is still important for Johnson as he hunts for financial support from corporate donors.
Johnson struggled with fundraising as a primary candidate, leaving him low on money even as he won that August race. In the weeks since, Johnson has devoted much of his time to raising the money his campaign needs if he’s to overcome Dayton’s initial financial advantage and the benefits of incumbency.
Blazar initially cast doubt, after the primary, on whether the chamber would endorse in the race. But he said the group is motivated to end total DFL control of state government. “We want to see both parties contributing their best ideas to move the state forward,” Blazar said.
The chamber represents 2,300 businesses across Minnesota. The group has spent more on lobbying at the State Capitol than any other organization going back to at least 2007. Its political action committee is comprised of volunteer members representing businesses of all sizes.