ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton toured the state by plane on Thursday asking Minnesotans to support his budget plan. At the same time, Republicans back in St. Paul unleashed a withering attack on the governor, questioning his stability under pressure.
Dayton, traveling to several cities by a plane he said was paid for out of campaign funds, is asking Minnesotans to “vote” for his budget. He’s blaming Republicans for the stalemate.
“We’re standing here in the middle waiting for them to show up,” said Dayton. “And their attitude is our way or no way.”
But as Dayton turned up the heat, Republicans lit a political blast furnace.
“There’s a madness to his method, not the other way around,” said Tony Sutton, chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party.
The state GOP is resurrecting a 2010 campaign theme: questioning Dayton’s stability and linking a possible government shutdown to the closing of his U.S. Senate office.
“Here’s a guy who’s used to getting his way his entire life,” said Sutton. “He lived in a big house full of servants, never had to work a day in his life, all that kind of stuff. And when people push back on him, he’s not used to it.”
The state GOP party unveiled a website, daytonshutdown.com, including videos of Dayton as a U.S. Senator and raising questions about his behavior, which party leaders described as angry, erratic, baffled and flummoxed.
Meanwhile, the labor-backed group Alliance For a Better Minnesota began a heavy rotation of television ads supporting the governor and accusing Republicans of protecting the rich.
“The Republicans are choosing to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class,” said the ad.