Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Tom Horner pledge new Vikings stadium

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Horner's wit earned the biggest applause and laughs last night at the expense of his opponents.
Gubernatorial candidates Tom Emmer, Mark Dayton and Tom Horner don't agree on much. And with Election Day fast approaching, none wasted much time with pleasantries at last night's debate.

Independence Party candidate Horner, in particular, stole the show by landing some good shots on both opponents. The best came after Emmer said he thought English should be the official language of Minnesota.

Horner jumped in without hesitation, as if he had been waiting for the question and Emmer's answer all night.

"I think anybody that wants a limited role for government should not think that English ought to be mandated," he said, soliciting applause from everyone but Emmer.

Even Dayton clapped.

But there was one issue that all three candidates (sort of) agreed upon: If elected, all pledged to build a new Vikings stadium.

The three candidates said last month that the state should have a hand in building a replacement for the Metrodome. But for KFAN sports radio host Dan Barreiro, the campaign promise seemed a little stale, so he made the gubernatorial hopefuls take the commitment a step further last night.

"With all due respect to each of you, I don't believe any of you," said Barreiro. "Will one or more of you pledge tonight...that you will actually spearhead and lead the charge on that particular bill?"

Horner and Dayton gave Barreiror an unequivocal yes. Emmer responded with an affirmative as well, but hedged a little.

"I'm going to lead the effort to make sure that all existing business in this state, including the Minnesota Vikings, not only survive but thrive," said Emmer. "It's all of them. You're not going to get me to say this business is more important than that."

Though all are for the new stadium, how to pay for it is another matter.

Proposals to a build a stadium were pretty unpopular with the Legislature last session, and a recent poll shows Minnesotans are largely against any plan that involves funding through public money.

Whoever does win in November just doubled down on what is likely going to be a pretty tough sell next legislative session.

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