Dayton ‘Disappointed’ That Target (Founded By His Family) Donated To Pro-Emmer Group

Former Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), the Dem nominee for governor of Minnesota, is now chiming in on a controversy surrounding the business that was originally founded by his family: Target’s $150,000 donation to a business group supporting Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer.

As the Star Tribune reports, Dayton responded to the controversy while speaking to reporters:

Dayton: “Personally, I’m disappointed in that decision. I am very proud of what my father and his brothers, who are my uncles, and thousands of Minnesotans built as the Dayton-Hudson Corporation and Target is one of those subsidiaries. You know, my family’s been out of the operating side of the business for about the last, almost the last 30 years. I don’t hold any stock directly in Target in my own holdings. I don’t know the percent of my family’s holding in Target but I would estimate it is less than one percent of the actively traded shares in the company and certainly my family has no voice in the actions of Target corporation.”

Reporter: “Had your family still be involved do you think that Target would have given to MN Forward.”

Dayton: “I don’t believe so. No.”

As we’ve reported before, Target’s involvement with MN Forward triggered a political backlash in this liberal state, and especially from gay rights activists, due to Emmer’s right-wing social positions. The company said it was supporting MN Forward (and by extension Emmer) because of economic issues — and also touted its own positive corporate policies on gay rights — but the matter has caused enough controversy that the CEO has apologized. In addition, several large shareholders in the company are demanding a review of the company’s political donation processes, in order to avoid future embarrassment.

The TPM Poll Average currently has Dayton leading Emmer and the Independence Party’s Tom Horner by 44.2%-33.6%-9.9%.