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Editorial: Horner is the best choice for governor

Minnesota faces a major decision on Nov. 2 - choosing the next governor to lead this state away from the political gridlock into the new decade.

The historical challenges facing Minnesota are significant: a bipartisan gridlock that has damaged state government over the past eight years, a looming budget deficit problem, a DFL-controlled Legislature governing without any input from across the aisle and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty holding to his "no new taxes" mantra at all costs in pursuit of his political future.

Our current political reality is the fault of both major political parties and Minnesota needs an immediate change. This state needs a new moderate political leader with prudent fiscal policy willing to bring both reform and direction to state government.

We believe the best choice for Minnesota's next governor is Independence Party's Tom Horner. He is the only opportunity among the governor candidates with the true chance for real change.

Horner is a moderate, much like the majority of Minnesotans. He has the political temperament needed to lead a productive state government. He has the political talent necessary to work with others and build coalitions. Finally, he has the business and political experience, having demonstrated success in both.

Neither Republican Tom Emmer nor Democrat Mark Dayton is a good candidate for Minnesota's next governor. One is too conservative and the other too liberal to be successful or good this state.

Emmer's nomination is an indication of the ultra-conservative direction of Minnesota's Republican Party. He has built a political career of shock politics and being anti-government. His political success is built by being a loud ultraconservative, with little legislative success or leadership. He has not demonstrated the business leadership or temperament necessary to lead this state. His cut-government-only strategy to fix the budget deficit would devastate rural Minnesota and the state's economy. His chance of successfully working with the DFL-controlled Senate is non-existent. His budget plans would cripple rural Minnesota health care, likely closing many rural hospitals and nursing homes.

Dayton is the direct opposite -- a Democrat with an ultra-liberal record. His campaign has been premised on a "tax the rich" strategy, which by itself cannot fix the looming budget deficit. He has a 30-year-long public service record, but mostly supporting liberal causes and little in accomplishments. His ability to work successfully with a possible Republican-controlled House is virtually zero.

Horner offers the strategic leadership necessary to unify Minnesota and avoid the bipartisan gridlock that has seriously damaged state politics. He has political experience of working for Sen. Dave Durenberger's campaign and as chief of staff. His running mate is Jim Mulder, the retired head of the Association of Minnesota Counties, who brings local government partnership experience to Horner's reform efforts.

We believe Horner is Minnesota's best hope in the 2010 governor election.