Former Republican Governor Arne Carlson says he thinks voters will elect Independence Party candidate Tom Horner as Minnesota's next governor, if they pay attention to the campaign.
Carlson announced his endorsement of Horner Monday in a series of public events, where he said the IP candidate is offering the best budget proposals for the state.
At age 75, Carlson insists he's still a Republican, but he said the GOP no longer resembles the party he once knew.
During a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol, Carlson said his role in the coming weeks is to help voters pay attention to Horner.
"Our real loyalty is not to a political party. Our real loyalty is to the well being of the state as a whole," Carlson said. "So I decided to get involved in this campaign. I don't want to sit on the sidelines, I want to be an activist.
"I've told Tom Horner wherever you want me to go, whenever you want me to go, let me know and I'll do my best to be there, and I mean it," Carlson said.
Carlson said he can even accept Horner's proposal to extend the state sales tax to clothing.
"Is it controversial? Of course it is. Will it inflict pain? You bet your life it will. But we no longer have any choice other than the infliction of pain," Carlson said.
DFL candidate Mark Dayton said Carlson's endorsement of Horner is a signal that the Republican Party is divided between Horner and Republican candidate Tom Emmer.
"I'm a Democrat running against a corporate Republican and an extreme Republican so it fits," Dayton said. "Arne was a moderate Republican."
State GOP officials downplayed the endorsement, calling Carlson a former Republican who governed during what they termed as the "relatively carefree" 1990s.