Hutchinson Launches Campaign in Style

From the West Central Tribune...

Peter Hutchinson is trying to recreate the Jesse Ventura success story minus a boa.

The 56-year-old has been vice president for the Dayton Hudson Corp., state finance commissioner, Minneapolis school superintendent and consultant to governments across the country. Now he wants to be elected by moderate voters as Minnesota’s governor, like Ventura.

“Somewhere along the way, the state got hijacked,” he said Wednesday, blaming Republicans and Democrats.

As the Independence Party candidate for governor, Hutchinson faces a task that the much better known Tim Penny failed to accomplish four years ago when he carried the party’s banner. With few active members, the party must recruit volunteers and find funding that seldom is available to third parties.

However, Hutchinson launched his campaign in a setting that might make some big-party candidates envious. More than 1,000 people attended his Wednesday breakfast fund-raiser and official campaign start.

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With a larger crowd and more elaborate staging than recent DFL gubernatorial hopefuls, third-party candidate Peter Hutchinson made a glitzy entry into the governor’s race on Wednesday (Jan. 25).

Hutchinson, a former state finance commissioner, announced his candidacy before about 1200 people at the Minneapolis Hilton—two large screens projected video endorsements from supporters like former congressman Tim Penny and two-piece band played live music.

While describing himself as an Independent candidate, Hutchinson is expected to seek the Independence Party endorsement, following Penny as the party’s second gubernatorial candidate since Jesse Ventura’s stunning victory in 1998.

Hutchinson, 56, suggested that he fell somewhere between the colorful former governor and bookish former congressman.

“I’m not a saviour,” Hutchinson told the crowd at the Hilton. “I don’t have some kind of messianic complex,” he joked.

What Hutchinson apparently has is a problem with the condition of politics in Minnesota—he argues it’s been shanghaied by “political extremes.”

Indeed, Hutchinson views the use of the “Five-Gs”—guns, god, gambling, gays, gynecology (abortion)—as being strategically used by the political extremes to excite, divide, stupefy and paralyze the electorate.

“We do not need to accept political paralysis as our only choice,” said Hutchinson.

He understands, said Hutchinson, that many voters feel strongly about social issues. But he argues the Legislature cannot solve these issues.

Rather than fighting over abortion rights, reduce the number of abortions, he said.

Rather than fighting over constitutional same-sex marriage bans, strengthen marriage by reducing the number of divorces.

A former member of the Perpich Administration, Hutchinson, a native of Faribault, served as a deputy Minneapolis mayor before spending more than a decade with the Dayton Hudson Corporation.

After serving as finance commissioner, Hutchinson, along with two partners, formed a consulting group that works with local and state government on service issues.

Independence Party State Chairman Jim Moore said Hutchinson and he had been discussing a possible run for the governor’s office for a year.

Moore is unperturbed that Hutchinson both verbally and in print labels himself an Independent, not as an Independence Party candidate.

“We’re not asking them (voters) to take a membership card to the Independence Party; we’re asking them to support Independence Party politics,” said Moore.

Hutchinson rejects the notion often leveled at third party candidates that they merely act as spoilers. “It’s hard to imagine how you can make this spoiled system even more spoiled,” he joked.

One Response to “Hutchinson Launches Campaign in Style”

  1. Mike Grimes Says:

    And with plenty of cash to go with it raising over $200,000 in 2005.

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