DFL leaders didn’t publicly comment Tuesday after Mike Ciresi announced his endorsement of Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate for governor.
But Yvonne Prettner Solon, who is DFL candidate Mark Dayton’s running mate, said she was caught off guard.
She first heard the news from the Bemidji Pioneer’s Brad Swenson and told him:
“Actually it surprises me. We had a fundraiser at the Ciresi firm very, very recently. I’m not sure what’s influencing him at this time, but we have our base and we’re always sorry to lose people, if we have lost people. I don’t know if he always was supporting Horner or standing on the sidelines.”
Ciresi has been a prominent DFL supporter and lost a bid for the U.S. Senate seat in the 2000 Democratic primary — to Dayton.
In his endorsement announcement, Ciresi said he wasn’t dissing Dayton — “This is not a slight against Mark Dayton. He’s a decent and great Minnesotan.”
Prettner Solon said the Ciresi news won’t change the Dayton’s campaign strategy:
“We will continue to stay true to our principles and we think that fighting for fairness for the middle class and fighting to support our education system and preserving and creating jobs in Minnesota and fighting for seniors so that they can age with dignity are the things that most of the people in the state of Minnesota are also wanting,” she said.
The effect should be minimal, she said, noting the poll numbers:
“I think I’ve seen him losing ground in terms of the polls,” she said. “We understand the the only poll that counts is the one on Nov. 2. We’re not going to stop, we’re just going to continue carrying our message across the state and meeting with as many people as we can and talk to as many people as we can.”