Carney uses bucket to highlight candidacy

Published 7:30 am Monday, August 2, 2010

Bob Carney thinks the Minnesota Republican Party has drifted too far from its roots. And he thinks he has the solution — vote for Carney.

“What I’m trying to do is renegotiate the contract between the Republican Party and the State of Minnesota,” he said during a visit to Austin last week.

Carney, looking to win the Aug. 10 gubernatorial primary, was in the midst of a campaign swing through the state, dressed in waiter-style tuxedo and carrying a five-gallon bucket labeled, “Tips.”

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“It’s just a way for people to distinguish me,” Carney said of his campaign outfit. But it is also a jab at the endorsed Republican candidate, Rep. Tom Emmer, who made a widely publicized campaign mis-step last month by suggesting that servers in Minnesota restaurants earn more than $100,000 per year.

“I’m going after Emmer,” Carney said. “There are only two choices on the Republican ballot, me and Emmer.” There are, in fact, four Republicans on the primary ballot, but Carney dismisses two of them — Leslie Davis and Ole Savior – as unlikely to win.

Carney’s own candidacy is based on what he sees as a need for the governor to return to a traditional role. He believes that the incumbent, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is not seeking re-election, went too far in attempting to resolve Minnesota’s budget problems by unalotting funds to state agencies and local governments.

“That’s not how the system is supposed to work,” Carney said. “The Legislature needs to do it (balance the budget), not the governor.” The governor, he said, needs to propose a realistic budget and serve as a facilitator, helping the two houses of the Legislature create a plan that can be signed into law. Carney said he is willing to work with Republicans, DFL’ers and others in pursuit of that goal.

He also thinks the governor should stay away from promoting extreme agendas. Although he describes himself as a conservative on social issues, Carney doesn’t think it’s the government’s business to create social policy. “I’d rather see (the government) take on economic issues and put the social issues to a vote, separately, as an amendment (to the state constitution),” he said.

As for his tuxedo and tip bucket, and the controversy over whether servers should be paid minimum wage, Carney said that he has not worked as a waiter. “But I was a strolling violinist,” he said.

For more on Carney’s campaign, see his web site at