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Business as usual for state GOP during shutdown, including salaries

With Gov. Mark Dayton and a slew of legislators not taking their paychecks during the state government shutdown, City Pages thought it would check up on the state political parties.

Eleven of the 14 state senators skipping their salary are Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. Turns out, there's no solidarity movement in the state GOP.

Tony Sutton, who will make $100,000 in the next 12 months as the state GOP chair, said he and all other GOP staffers would draw salaries as usual.

"We're not part of the state government," Sutton said. "We're not connected with the state. And if the governor signed the bill that was passed, we wouldn't be in a shutdown."

Sutton announced on Tuesday that he'd start receiving his salary from the GOP, after spending two years running the Republican Party without pay. Sutton had lived off his outside salary as CEO of Baja Sol -- which struggled during his tenure -- and briefly ran his own P.R. firm, Public Affairs Co., with his wife.

Sutton wondered aloud why City Pages would even think that the GOP might not pay full salaries. Then, as political minds typically do, he turned the question against his foes.

"The more curious question would be, are the Democrats taking their salary," he said.

When told that City Pages was in fact contacting the state Democrats for the same reason, it was Sutton who got curious.

"Well," he said, "what'd the DFL say?"

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