Republican campaign complaint against Tom Horner tossed

The Republican Party of Minnesota has failed in its effort to nail IP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate -- and former Republican -- Tom Horner for shady politicking.

An administrative law judge ruled yesterday that Horner did not receive an illegal contribution in the form of polling data from Decision Resources, as the GOP alleged.

Decision Resources is owned by Republican Bill Morris, a Horner supporter who has also done work with Horner's former PR and marketing firm. Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer came out looking bad in the survey, which was released in June and published in the Pioneer Press.

The data showed Emmer trailing all three of his potential DFL opponents -- Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza -- in separate match-ups.

A May poll from Rasmussen, the most GOP-friendly of national polling outfits, showed Emmer with a sliver-thin 2 percentage point lead over his rivals, and Horner a distant also-ran.

From the Strib:

The complaint "had no merit and it was completely bogus," Horner said. "The GOP is using these bullying tactics and wasting their own contributors' money to cover up results of a survey they didn't like."

The Republicans say they will appeal the ruling.

"By failing to hold Tom Horner accountable for his acceptance of what we believe is clearly an illegal corporate contribution, Judge Cervantes has created a loop hole the size of Lake Superior which will lead to a wild west situation in which anything goes in our state's elections," party chair Tony Sutton said in a statement. "We believe Judge Cervantes has committed a 'clear error of law,' and we will immediately begin crafting our appeal this afternoon."

Independence Party candidate Rob Hahn has called on Horner to step aside.

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