Former MN Gov. Candidate Tom Horner Launches PR Firm

Tom Horner, who co-founded PR firm Himle Horner in 1989 and later sold his stake when running for Minnesota governor, has joined forces with his daughter to launch Horner Strategies, LLC.

Tom Horner, a public relations veteran and former candidate for governor of Minnesota, announced Wednesday that he is launching a new PR firm in Minneapolis.

The new company, Horner Strategies, LLC, is described as a “boutique” firm that will focus on a “small, focused list of clients.”

“We’re not trying to be all things to all clients,” Horner said in a statement. “Horner Strategies is designed to create the team and level of service each client needs.”

Horner’s daughter, Amanda Horner, has been named account executive at the new firm. She told Twin Cities Business in a Wednesday phone interview that she and her father make up the firm’s entire staff, and she suspects they’ll be the lone employees for “the foreseeable future.” The firm may, however, hire additional help on a contract basis in order to meet individual client needs, she said.

Amanda Horner said that the new firm already has one client, The Center for Rural Policy and Development, a St. Peter-based nonprofit policy research organization.

Tom Horner’s career spans journalism, public relations, and politics. In the 1970s, he served as managing editor of Suburban Sun newspapers and then became chief of staff to former U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger. (For an in-depth story about Durenberger, including his support for Horner, read this feature article from the November 2010 issue of Twin Cities Business.)

After working under Durenberger, Horner returned to his hometown of Minneapolis to run the regional operations of New York-based PR firm Hill and Knowlton. In 1989, he co-founded local PR firm Himle Horner and then went on to run for governor of Minnesota in 2010.

Prior to the gubernatorial race, in which he ran as an Independence Party candidate, Horner began reducing ownership in his namesake firm, and in 2010, he announced that he had sold his remaining stake. In late 2011, Himle Horner changed its name to Himle Rapp & Company, Inc., and also moved its office from Bloomington to downtown Minneapolis.

Amanda Horner, meanwhile, previously worked for another Minnesota PR firm, Prior Lake-based McFarland Cahill Communications, which closed in August. There, her responsibilities involved publicity for the Basilica Block Party, a Minneapolis music festival, and public affairs outreach. She told Twin Cities Business that other past experience includes communications work for the University of St. Thomas and Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.