Republican Kurt Zellers tapped familiar folks to sit on his gubernatorial finance committee.
The members of his committee include former GOP Party chair Ron Eibensteiner; former Pawlenty administration staffer Ward Einess, Hubbard Broadcasting CEO and major donor Stanley Hubbard, Public Affairs Company CEO and longtime strategist Steve Knuth, Pawn America CEO Bradley Rixman, former Pawlenty advisor Maureen Shaver and many others whose names have long floated in Minnesota politics.
“Every member of this committee understands Kurt Zellers has what it takes to be the next Governor and we are all 100% committed to making sure he has the financial resources to defeat Governor Mark Dayton,” Dean Simpson, Zellers' campaign chair and a former state representative, said in a statement.
In recent years, individuals in the group easily topped $1 million in political contributions.
Although the members of the finance committee can't donate that kind of money to directly to the Zellers campaign, given campaign finance limits, their willingness to publicly back him in a crowded contest for GOP nomination shows he has considerable financial acumen in his corner.
Zellers is one of more than half a dozen Republicans vying to unseat DFL Gov. Mark Dayton next year.
Here's the complete list of finance committee members as shared by the Zellers campaign.
Mark Evenstad, CEO, Upsher Smith Laboratories (chair)
Ward Brehm, CEO, The Brehm Group
Ron Eibensteiner, CEO, Wyncrest Capital
Ward Einess, Einess Strategies
Dave Frauenshuh, CEO, Frauenshuh Companies
Stan Hubbard, CEO, Hubbard Broadcasting
Steve Knuth, CEO, Public Affairs Company
Larry LeJeune, Owner, LeJeune Investment Inc.
Tommy Merickel, Executive Vice President, Taylor Corp.
Al Olson, former governor of North Dakota
Brad Rixmann, CEO, Pawn America
Cathy Rydell, CEO, American Academy of Neurology
Chad Sauer, Tiller Corp.
Gary Sauer, CEO, Tiller Corp.
Steve Sauer, VP, Tiller Corp.
Denny Schulstad, Retired, United States Air Force
Ameet Shah, Owner, Shah Corp.
Maureen Shaver, Shaver Public Affairs
Dean Simpson, Owner, Dean’s Country Market
Jim Ulland, CEO, Uland Investment Advisors
Bob Ulrich, Retired CEO, Target Corporation
Photo: Zellers cooing at GOP Senate staffer Luke Hellier's baby at the 2013 state fair//source: Star Tribune