Republican candidate for governor Scott Honour has added another $500,000 in personal funds to his campaign coffers, his campaign manager said Thursday.
The new cash infusion just 19 days before Minnesotans decide whether to pick him or one of his rivals to take on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in the fall could give the little-known businessman a boost in the final days of the campaign.
"From the start, Scott's made sure the campaign has what it takes financially to win the Governor's race. But this campaign is about a lot more than money. It's about who voters can trust to make real change in St Paul," said Honour senior consultant Pat Shortridge.
So far, Honour has been the best funded GOP candidate for governor, with more than $900,000 of his campaign cash coming from his own pocket. His campaign said he raised $100,000 from others in the past few months.
He will face fellow Republicans Kurt Zellers, a former House speaker, Marty Seifert, a former House minority leader, and Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner and the GOP-endorsed pick in the primary. Honour is the only one among the bunch who has never run for office before.
Minnesotans have proven they bear no ill-will toward self-funded candidates.
Gov. Mark Dayton largely self-financed his campaign for governor in 2010 and his previous successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. He is fundraising from others for his re-election campaign.
All candidates must report their most recent campaign finance numbers on Monday. Those will be made public on Tuesday.
Photo: Scott Honour in a St. Cloud parade/Glenn Stubbe, Star Tribune
Correction: This post has corrected Pat Shortridge' title.
Last year, Gov. Mark Dayton earned $352,601, a little less than half of which came from capital gains, according to tax returns he released on Wednesday.
The DFL governor, who has released his tax returns every year since 2010, gave $10,000 to charity and paid $76,008 in federal taxes and $29,932 in state taxes, for an effective tax rate of 30 percent.
The heir to the Dayton's department store fortune earned $116,092 from his state salary and $73,062 from dividends.
In 2012, Dayton earned a similar amount from similar sources but only gave $1,000 to charity. He said at the time that he was" disappointed in myself," because of his lack of charitable contributions. He gave ten times more in 2013 than he gave in 2012. His total giving equaled about 3 percent of his 2013 income.
Releasing tax returns is not a requirement of Minnesota politicians. State law mandates only minimal release of economic interests.
Zellers’ spokeswoman Caitlyn Stenerson said he will not release his until post-primary because getting them ready would take too much precious time during the heated run-up to the August 12 election.
GOP candidate Marty Seifert declined to release his tax information last year and did so again this year.
"I don't think our income tax return is anyone's business, but can assure you our household income is less than the other GOP candidates and much less than Governor Dayton," Seifert said in a statement.
The four Republicans will vie in an August primary. The winner of that contest will face Dayton in the fall.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers renewed his pledge Wednesday that he will never increase taxes if elected.
“I think Minnesotans need to know going in before they elect a governor that they won’t raise taxes,” the former Minnseota House Speaker told reporters. “I made that commitment in the past, whether on paper or in person, but I think now more than ever after the confusion we’ve seen in the last two years, that it’s critically important that voters know going in.”
Zellers’ pledge to Americans for Tax Reform coincides with the launch of his first broadcast advertisement with weeks go to until the Aug. 12 primary, where he faces off with three other GOP contenders for the nomination to take on Gov. Mark Dayton. In the advertisement, Zellers says he took on Dayton and won, preventing him from raising taxes in a showdown between Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature that led to the 2011 government shutdown.
“I’ve never raised taxes, and I’ll never do it as your governor either,” Zellers said in the ad, with a Wright County farm as a backdrop. “I’m the only candidate in the race who has the guts to put it in writing.”
Zellers said the no-tax-increase pledge ranges from individuals to business owners, even cigarettes.
Zellers said that of his three fellow GOP contenders—Former GOP House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and businessman Scott Honour— “to date, there’s been no one” who has taken a similar pledge.
Though his stance on refusing to raise taxes hasn't changed, Zellers said it's important to take the pledge to reiterate where he stands.
"If you are going to run against three other very well-qualified candidates but also a governor, you have to let the voters know," Zellers said. "I would rather err on the side of making sure they know than have someone think 'Well, all those politicians said they were gonna tax rich people and now I'm paying a dollar more on a pack of smokes.'"
If elected, Zellers said any proposed tax increase sent to his desk from the Legislature would be vetoed.
Zellers wouldn't say if he intends to run more television ads before the primary. The current ad airs on cable statewide in the Rochester, Fargo-Moorhead and Minneapolis and St. Paul markets.
Legislators are picking sides in the Republican governor's race.
On Wednesday both Republicans Marty Seifert, a former House minority leader from Marshall, and Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner released lists of lawmakers who have their backs.
Former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who currently represents Maple Grove in the House, announced a list of current and former lawmakers in his corner two weeks ago. The three will face off against each other and businessman Scott Honour, the only one of the quartet who has not served in the Legislature, in an August primary.
Johnson's list of lawmaker-supporters is the longest, which stands to reason because he is the Republican Party's endorsed candidate for governor. Partisans are encouraged to back the candidate the party backs.
Supporters released by the Johnson campaign on Wednesday:
Former Republican legislators endorsing Johnson include:
Supporters released by the Seifert campaign on Wednesday:
Seifert's campaign said more lawmaker support is coming.
"Marty Seifert’s campaign for governor has locally announced several legislative endorsements from current and former legislators over the last week and will continue to do so for the next 10 days," it said in a news release.
Honour, who has not released a list of his legislative supporters, took a whack at his rivals through his campaign's Twitter account.
Photo: Minnesota Capitol/Source: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
Updates: The word "pressured" regarding the expectation that partisan support party-backed candidate has been changed to "encouraged."
The HonourHousley tweet has also been added.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson is expected to be "back to normal health in a matter of days," according to information released by his campaign Tuesday.
On Monday, Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, went to urgent care with stomach pain and doctors quickly determined he needed surgery. He was taken to Maple Grove Hospital where surgeons repaired "a small perforation" in his stomach.
His campaign quoted Maple Grove Hospital's Megan Fasching as saying that the condition from which Johnson suffered, a peptic ulcer, was fairly common.
"He tolerated the surgery well and is on the road to recovery. He should be back to normal health in a matter of days with no long term effects," Fasching said.
His campaign said he would be back on the trail soon.
Johnson faces a four-way primary in August against former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Rep. Kurt Zellers and Wayzata businessman Scott Honour.
Photo: Mayo Clinic for Medical Education and Research
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