GOP Taps Biz Leaders As Candidates
In Minnesota, local business leaders have become the top Republican candidates in races for Congressional, Senate, and statewide political positions, according to a Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) report.
Mike McFadden, the former co-CEO of Minneapolis-based investment bank Lazard Middle Market, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in May, challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Al Franken.
Another example is former investment banker Scott Honour, who plans to run in the 2014 Minnesota gubernatorial race. According to MPR, Honour previously owned a private equity firm in California before moving back to Minnesota three years ago.
Meanwhile, MPR reported that Stewart Mills, the CEO of Brainerd-based Mills Fleet Farm, is considering running for Congress in Minnesota’s 8th District.
Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downey told MPR that the number of Republican candidates with business backgrounds is a favorable development.
“With the issues that we have . . . I think having good, strong business people in the mix is a good thing,” Downey told the news outlet.
The ability of such candidates to finance their own campaigns is another positive factor for the Minnesota GOP, a political party that is more than $1 million in debt, according to MPR.
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce representative Laura Bordelon told MPR that the chamber actively recruits business leaders to run for the legislature because such candidates have knowledge on how to integrate business in government.
“We think that type of perspective is needed in policy debates,” Bordelon said.
In April, local businessman and hotel founder Jim Graves announced plans to run as the Democratic opposition to U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann for Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District seat. However, Graves dropped out of the race, stating he accomplished his campaign’s goal of challenging Bachmann after she dropped out.