Editor’s note: This is one of a series of occasional reports on the campaigns of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates.
Republican candidate for governor Scott Honour wants primary voters to follow the money.
“We need someone that has the resources to bear to win the race,” Honour said of the fall’s race against DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. “We will be the only the campaign that has the ability to go toe-to-toe with the governor raising money.”
With $225,000 in his campaign account, Honour has more than twice as much cash on hand as his competitors — state Rep. Kurt Zellers, former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert and endorsed GOP candidate Jeff Johnson. Much of that advantage comes from the $300,000 he lent the campaign this year. That was money well-spent, he said.
“We funded all the infrastructure — personnel, technology,” Honour said of the personal loans. Now, he said, when he calls on donors, “we can say that every dollar we raise is going directly into advertising, into getting our message out.”
When the Honour campaign ads hit the air in a few weeks, expect to hear the phrases “private-sector experience,” which he gained from his years as an investment banker, and “career politician,” which is how he describes his competitors.
Honour talks about the need for smarter spending, changes in regulations and taxes, and education, as do the other three Republican candidates. But he’s trying to insert a wedge of difference.
“The candidates I’m running against have been in leadership positions for quite awhile, and we haven’t gotten our agenda passed,” he said. “I know from my experience in the private sector you can always lower costs and get better results.”
Honour says he has a refined and sophisticated strategy to get that message to the right people.
“We’re focused on two target groups,” he said. “One — the traditional primary voter. I think they’re going to like what I’m about.
“[And] we’re going to be reaching to new voters; new with respect to the primary — folks that have not voted in Republican primaries in the past and have them understand that they have a great chance to put their voice behind this race in a way that will impact the outcome.”
And that’s the third part of the Honour message, and, perhaps, the most challenging to deliver. He says he will be telling the primary voters that they — not party insiders — should have a say in choosing the Republican nominee.
The campaign must persuade them that they care enough about that choice — and Honour — to show up to vote on Aug. 12.