All the people running to become (or stay) mayor of Minneapolis have issues they need to explain to voters.
But hey, at least none of them got caught giving money to Republicans.
That's what's happened to Tom Hoch, a political moderate and campaign novice, whose campaign is thought to have the support of the city's most well-heeled business interests.
Hoch is a former head of the Hennepin County Theatre Trust, and has campaigned on issues of importance to downtown, like public safety and crime, and the "poorly managed, lengthy, and disruptive" construction project on Nicollet Mall.
As of last night, Hoch has a new issue to communicate to voters: Reassuring them that he's a Democrat.
As publicized by a tweet from Patrick Flanagan, Hoch donated $500 to the Minnesota House Republican Campaign Committee on October 16 of 2016.
Piling on a little later was SEIU Local 26 union leader Javier Morillo (a Hodges supporter), who noted the timing of Hoch's donation.
Tom Hoch gave money to the Republican Party October 18, 2016. I'm curious what else was happening in GOP politics that week.— Javier Morillo (@javimorillo) September 14, 2017
Hoch's money would've fed into Kurt Daudt and the GOP Caucus' efforts to hold a majority in the Minnesota House. (A few weeks later, they did.)
Hoch's campaign quickly issued a statement explaining his donation -- the only of its kind in Hoch's giving history, according to the statement.
"Tom Hoch is a proud member of the DFL party and has been for his entire life. He has donated both his time and financial resources to numerous progressive causes including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Franken, Mark Dayton, the DFL Party, and Planned Parenthood. In 2016, Tom participated in an event with other members of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, while president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. At this event, he gave $500 to the House Republican Caucus. Support for the arts in Minnesota should not be a partisan issue. He’s proud to say that 98% of his political contributions have gone to Democratic candidates and progressive causes."
A search of state campaign finance records finds Hoch has supported liberal campaigns -- he gave a total of $763 to the pro-gay marriage Minnesotans United for All Families -- and candidates, most notably Dayton, whom he has backed to the tune of $5,400 over the years.
On the federal level, Hoch gave out $12,450 to various campaign groups during the last election cycle, including a $2,700 donation to Hillary Clinton in June 2015, and $2,000 to Amy Klobuchar in December 2016, about seven weeks after his donation to local GOP legislative candidates.
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