Republican National Committeewoman Pat Anderson is lobbying legislators to expand gambling at Canterbury Park – a move that puts her at odds with her party’s platform.
Anderson said she officially registered to lobby for the track Monday, less than two weeks after party activists elected her to a seat on the national committee. Canterbury and Running Aces Harness Park have pushed for years to add casino-style slot machines to their horse racing and card table operations.
Michael Brodkorb, deputy state GOP chairman, said Anderson should resign from the national leadership post if she continues to lobby for the so-called Racino proposal.
“It is entirely inconsistent for her to serve as national committeewoman while simultaneously being paid to lobby against articles in the party platform,” he said. “She will ultimately have to make a choice.”
Anderson said the platform also calls for breaking up the tribal monopoly on casino-style gambling and that a bedrock party ideal is the promotion of the free market.
To her, those two principles are more important. “This is a free-market issue for me,” she said.
Anderson, a former state auditor and gubernatorial candidate, said she doesn’t believe that makes her an outlier in the party.
She surveyed party activists and found them “all over the board” on gambling.
She also noted that she supported a similar measure when it passed the GOP-controlled House nearly a decade ago.
As the state works to beat down a $5 billion projected deficit, several Republican legislators are exploring numerous gambling expansion proposals to close the gap, everything from racinos to electronic pull tabs to allowing slot machines in bars.
Anderson said those other proposals go too far, however, and bring gambling to “every neighborhood, everywhere.”