In two days the two top political parties have tried to knock down the two leading candidates for governor. Thursday the DFL held a press conference “to discuss irregularities and new information about Tom Emmer’s finances.” They say Emmer has borrowed $1.6 million dollars against his home over eight years and paid off more than a million of that. DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez said “Average Minnesotans don’t have seven mortgages.” Melendez added if “a small town lawyer” is making a million dollars in a few years that’s unusual. He called on Emmer to release his income taxes so Minnesotans can see how he manages his finances and might manage the state. DFLer Mark Dayton released his income taxes after pressure from Democrats before the primary election. The DFL document also shows Emmer received a notice of foreclosure in 2005 that he was in default on his loan, but then he apparently straightened that out.
Emmer’s campaign held a conference call with reporters “to respond to the wild accusations made by the Minnesota DFL in a desperate attempt to tear down Tom Emmer with falsehoods and innuendo.” Cullen Sheehan, Campaign Manager said “It doesn’t sound like a party chairman whose candidate is ahead. Shame on Brian Melendez.” Sheehan said Emmer is not underwater in his home mortgage and he pays he mortgage just like other Minnesotans. Republicans reminded reporters that Emmer is not a Dayton and “he doesn’t have a trust fund.” Emmer’s campaign said he follows the law on disclosing information which does not require candidates to make their tax returns public. Sheehan said Emmer is not a millionaire and he won’t release his tax returns or client list.
Wednesday the GOP had a press conference to “set the record straight on Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton’s failed record as commissioner of economic development.” They went back to Dayton’s work in state government in the 1980s. “Mark Dayton’s actual record as economic development commissioner was marked by failure, wasteful spending, lack of planning, exaggerated claims, improper use of funds, outrageous budget requests, and decision making based on politics, not merit,” said Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton. “Moreover, the late Governor Perpich’s son said that Dayton quit his father’s administration in advance of an oncoming recession because he feared he would look bad politically if he remained on the job.”
Dayton sent out a press release later in the day saying “This is another desperate attempt by the Republicans to smear Mark and distort his excellent record of public service. The thousands of jobs Mark helped create as Commissioner of Economic Development were the result of hard work and good policy, and many of the companies he helped have grown and prospered in Minnesota, continuing to employ Minnesotans today.” Dayton listed his accomplishments as Commissioner of Economic Development from July of 1983 through December of 1986 Dayton: Greatly expanded the STAR Cities for Economic Development program, created and administered three loan funds, administered the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit program, and started a non-partisan Tourism Advisory Panel.