Target-backed candidate concedes Minnesota gubernatorial race

Wed. December 8, 2010 11:43 AM by News Staff

Minneapolis, MN - Republican Tom Emmer conceded Wednesday to Democrat Mark Dayton in the Minnesota governor's race, which gained national attention after Target contributed $150,000 to the anti-gay Republican candidate.

Minneapolis-based Target came under fire from LGBT groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, for giving $150,000 to a right-wing political action committee (PAC) known as Minnesota Forward, which in turn bought television ads for Emmer.

At the time, gay rights groups said it was unwise for Target to back the anti-gay Emmer, because his conservative views on abortion, gay marriage, immigration and the minimum wage could upset some Target shoppers., a liberal advocacy group, and gay rights advocates called for a nationwide boycott of Target in August.

"When Target became one of the first known companies to try to buy an election, we started to hear a response almost immediately," director of political advocacy and communications for, Ilyse Hogue told PBS in August. "We have people who haven't previously worked with us who are coming to us and saying, 'Target needs to be made an example."

Target's campaign donation was one of the first to gain national attention since a recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations world-wide to limitless contributions to American election campaigns.

Electronics-giant Best Buy was also criticized for its $100,000 donation to Minnesota Forward and the Emmer campaign.

Target apologized for the MN Forward donation but rejected HRC's request to even the score by giving an equal amount of money to a pro-gay candidate. HRC dropped Target and Best Buy from its annual buyer's guide.

Emmer's concession follows a statewide recount that failed to change the nearly 9,000 vote lead by Dayton.

Ironically, Dayton's century-old family business, Dayton-Hudson corporation, is the former incarnation of Target Corp.

Dayton supports legalizing same-sex marriage.