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Tom Horner campaign cites GOP poll and blogger to argue that ‘Tom Emmer has hit a ceiling and cannot win’

Amid the daily swirl of “news”’ releases sent out by the various campaigns, there was one today from Tom Horner’s campaign that was a bit unusual.
The Horner release cited an item from a conservative blog that shows, the Horner campaign claimed, th

Amid the daily swirl of “news”’ releases sent out by the various campaigns, there was one today from Tom Horner’s campaign that was a bit unusual.

The Horner release cited an item from a conservative blog that shows, the Horner campaign claimed, that “Tom Emmer has hit a ceiling and cannot win.”

That’s a pretty big statement, based on the campaign’s interpretation of a Republican poll in House District 32B and the comments of  blogger Scott Johnson of Power Line.

The poll results of the Tarrance Group, a Republican Party research and polling outfit, show Emmer favored in the district with 41 percent. (For sake of comparison, the same poll shows Rep. Kurt Zellers, the House minority leader, with 57 percent support.)

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Johnson interprets the 42 percent as a grim sign for Emmer. The Maple Grove district has been solidly Republican, giving Gov. Tim Pawlenty 55 percent support in the last election, far better than he did statewide.

Wrote Johnson: “As we all know, 2006 and 2008 were not good years for Republicans in Minnesota. They were disasters. For Emmer now to be polling only at 41 per cent in the district this year means that Emmer is in trouble. … It’s time for a gut check in the Emmer campaign. The campaign is not going well and the campaign leadership needs to wake up.”

So that’s Johnson’s interpretation of the poll from one Republican legislative district.

Now, there’s the interpretation of the poll — and Johnson’s comments — by Horner’s campaign manager Stephen Imholte.

“If Emmer can’t perform in Maple Grove, he certainly can’t perform statewide. The race will come down to Horner and Dayton.”

The Emmer campaign’s interpretation is different from Johnson’s — and strikingly different from Imholte’s.

For starters, Emmer spokesman Carl Kuhl said he hasn’t spoken with Johnson but that the campaign feels good about its general direction.

“There has been a big uptick for Tom [Emmer, that is] in recent weeks,” Kuhl said. “As more and more people learn about Tom for themselves and not what they hear about him, there’s growing support.”

As for Imholte’s assertion that the governor’s race “will come down to Horner and Dayton,” Kuhl sounded perplexed.

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“I think if you look at his highest poll numbers, there was one that showed him about 18 percent,’’ Kuhl said. “I have one question: ‘What’s your path to victory, Tom [Horner, that is]?’ “