A call to the Baja Sol corporate office this morning confirmed that Sutton was "no longer with" the company. I was directed to the company attorney for further information.
Sutton and her husband, Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Tony Sutton, first entered the faux Mexican fast casual restaurant business in 2004, when they opened a Tortilla Grill in downtown Minneapolis; by 2006, they purchased the chain with TCF powerhouse and former Republican Chair Bill Cooper, with aggressive plans to expand the chain. The enterprise drew other high-powered Republican money-men, including former chair Ron Carey. One listing for a Baja Sol Cantina franchise at the Minnesota Secretary of State's office lists the same address as the Wigley Family Foundation, (aka Michael Wigley, founder of the Minnesota Taxpayers League).
These plans failed, and the chain is down to 11 Tortilla Grills in Minnesota, after restaurants in Illinois and Ohio closed, and the sit-down cantina restaurants were shuttered last year.
Tony Sutton left the business inJanuary.
Formerly Bridget Cronin, Mrs. Sutton worked as a Republican operative, including RPM communications director, until leaving to lobby for autism causes in Minnesota. She served on the Inver Grove Heights School Board.
The long-term strength of her acumen is best illustrated by her taste in hip-hop and her 2000 assessment of a little-known congressional challenger (via Nexis):
Even if [ Mark] Kennedy loses to Minge, he has a future in Republican politics, says GOP Party communication director Bridget Cronin: He's smart, he has a business background, understands intricate policy issues, and has an attractive personality.
"He's a comer," she said. "He's an emerging leader." (Debra O'Connor, "Diverse voters fill 2nd district," St. Paul Pioneer Press, October 23, 2000, accessed 3/7/2011)
Mr. Attractive Personality beat Minge by under 200 votes, was redistricted into Minnesota's Sixth, then lost a Senate bid in 2006 by a landslide to Amy Klobuchar, known in Washington for her humor and in Minnesota for prize-winning tator-tot hotdish.
Her opponent was replaced in the Sixth by the new Queen of the Tea Party, Michele Bachmann. Mark who?