Given the poles-apart candidacies of Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer, I expect to see most mainstream newspapers split the difference and endorse Tom Horner this fall. (Sunday’s Strib featured not one, but three staff-written opinion pieces the Horner website could gleefully reprint.)
But from Minnesota’s western border comes a truly white-hot editorial denunciation — in this case, of Emmer. Grand Forks Herald editorial editor Tom Dennis (whose coverage area includes East Grand Forks, Mn.) writes:
If GOP candidate Tom Emmer loses the race for governor in Minnesota, it will be for one key reason: His utter — and utterly baffling — refusal to specify where he’d make his spending cuts in order to balance the state budget. …
2010 is a year of Republican tide, and that almost certainly means there are a great many centrists and independents who are looking for reasons to support the GOP candidate.
Right now, they’re not finding those reasons. When Emmer speaks on the budget, he sounds deeper in denial than Saddam Hussein’s famous spokesman, the one who kept insisting on Saddam’s genius and triumph even as coalition tanks rolled up outside his ministry’s door.
Woo — I can’t remember the last time the Strib delivered a gubernatorial butt-kick like that.
As I’ve noted previously, Fargo-based Forum Communications owns more Minnesota dailies than anyone else, and its management is considered fairly conservative. Come endorsement time, Fargo execs make the pick in statewide races, and those selections are transmitted via the local papers (though editorial page editors can supply their own reasoning).
During the campaign, the local editors have more autonomy, so this may just be Dennis’ view. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that a journalist fiercely advocates disclosure, no matter who the candidate is.
Emmer — who swears he’ll release the rest of his budget within two weeks — could deliver policy prescriptions that return him to the Herald’s good graces, and it’s possible he’s never been far from Fargo’s heart.
But somewhere, Tom Horner has to be smiling.