MN GOP Chair Sutton Partners with PR Company

Tony Sutton, a longtime Republican operative and former CEO of Baja Sol Restaurants Group, has joined forces with a local public relations firm.

Public Affairs Company, a Minneapolis-based public relations firm, announced Monday that it has partnered with Tony Sutton-a longtime political activist and current chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Public Affairs Company is a government relations firm specializing in grassroots advocacy and media relations.

Sutton is the founder and CEO of Winning Strategies, LLC, which also bills itself as a grassroots advocacy firm. It offers services related to issue campaigns, media relations, business communication, government affairs, and ballot initiatives.

Sutton told Twin Cities Business on Tuesday that the collaboration is a “win-win scenario” for his organization and Public Affaris Company. Sutton, who has known Public Affairs Company Founder and CEO Steve Knuth for more than 20 years, said that he intends to announce in the coming months what specific efforts the groups will make together.

“It's an opportunity for both of us to really expand in this political environment and to provide services for clients navigating” it, he said.

Sutton, whose term as GOP chairman ends in April, said that he plans to announce next week whether he will run for re-election.

Public Affairs Company spokeswoman Stacy Thompson said in a Tuesday phone interview that the joint effort will involve working together to obtain new clients. By utilizing Sutton's contacts and Public Affairs Company's experience in the field, the move is a “natural progression” for the organizations, she added.

“We have been meeting the needs of our clients for more than a decade. Large or small we have organized grassroots campaigns, handled media relations, and helped dozens of clients navigate challenging political landscapes,” Knuth said in a statement. “We are excited to be working with Tony Sutton, a seasoned political operative who will bring his knowledge, enthusiasm, and wide range of contacts to the Public Affairs Company team.”

Sutton led the state GOP as it gained control of both chambers of the legislature for the first time in nearly four decades. He has many years of experience in the political sphere, having occupied a variety of leadership roles at the local, congressional district, and state levels.

Sutton also served as Deputy State Auditor and formerly led Inver Grove Heights-based Baja Sol Restaurants Group as CEO. Sutton maintains an ownership stake in Baja Sol, where his wife Bridget now serves as president. The company is also co-owned by Bill Cooper, CEO of TCF Financial Corporation.