ST. PAUL, Minn. – The top five Republican candidates for governor joined forces against current DFL Governor Mark Dayton Thursday afternoon.
They came together to criticize the plan for a new $90 million legislative office building near the capitol that Dayton and other Democrats support.
"They have passed a $90 million Taj Mahal that doesn't even house all 67 of the senators," said GOP candidate Jeff Johnson.
But they also hit Dayton on the medical marijuana issue. Although they were not necessarily against the governor's opposition to the current medical marijuana bill, they certainly were against how he is handling the issue.
"I think it's not only a failure in leadership I think it's a character flaw," said GOP candidate Kurt Zellers.
Zellers and others referenced Dayton's alleged suggestion parents should get marijuana illegally to help their children who suffer from epilepsy.
Political analysts believe the candidates joining forces, at least for the time being, is unusual.
"All five of the Republican candidates getting together this far away from Election Day is not typical, but it's not unprecedented either," said University of Minnesota Professor Larry Jacobs.
With the public's attention not necessarily focused on the 2014 election, Jacobs said it has been difficult for the candidates to break through with their individual messages.
"From the perspective of a lot of Republicans, Mark Dayton is getting a free pass," said Jacobs.
That said he believes Republicans may have a tough sell.
"If it's a referendum on the governor, you're probably going to see most voters say things look pretty good," he said.
But Jacobs is quick to point out, anything can happen between now and November.
Dayton's spokesperson did not specifically address the criticism of the medical marijuana issue Thursday, but told KARE 11 the new legislative office building is needed.
"The choices we make together during this once-in-a-generation restoration project should be focused on the public's long-term interests, providing the space future Minnesotans, Legislatures, and Governors will need to lead and govern our state for the next 100 years," said Matt Swenson, Dayton's press secretary.