We reported recently about the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s unusual dual endorsement in Senate District 56.
Some voters may not care about an interest group’s preferred candidate, but in this case, and in this swing legislative district, that endorsement clearly mattered to the candidates. (You can bet the endorsed candidates’ campaign literature will include mention of the Chamber’s support.)
While the Chamber’s political action committee backed both Sen. Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury, and her Republican challenger, Ted Lillie, it picked only one candidate in each of the District 56 House races. The traditionally Republican-supporting business group supported GOP candidate Andrea Kieffer over DFL Rep. Marsha Swails in District 56B.
In 56A, the Chamber’s support went to DFL Rep. Julie Bunn of Lake Elmo.
We asked Bunn’s Republican opponent, Kathy Lohmer, about that endorsement in a recent interview. She had surprisingly candid observations.
“It meant a lot to me,” said Lohmer, who has called for lowering business taxes. “I wanted that endorsement.”
Lohmer said she suspects that Bunn gained the Chamber’s backing only because in the interest of appearing non-partisan, the Chamber felt obligated to endorse a Democrat over a Republican in one of the District 56 races.
“She’s like the best of the worst,” Lohmer said of Bunn. “They have to give it to somebody.”
Lohmer added: “I was the sacrificial lamb, I think.”
For her part, Bunn said she believed she earned the business group’s support because of her voting record and leadership on issues important to the organization.
“I not only vote with them frequently, but I can champion things important to them,” Bunn said.