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Tom Emmer states bluntly that he will not be involved in any ‘stalling tactics’ on recount

Tom Emmer
MinnPost/Terry Gydesen
Tom Emmer

A chance encounter today in the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel in St. Louis Park revealed a lot about Tom Emmer’s state of mind. The Republican candidate for governor ran into Gen Olsen, Minnetrista state senator, colleague and dear friend.

As she filled him in on the work of the new GOP Senate majority, he beamed. In an interview with MinnPost afterward, he left no doubt why.

“I feel very honored to be part of something that has never happened in Minnesota before,” he said. “I’d love to have another 10,000 votes, but based on the success in the Senate and the House, I would say we did a great job, and our team’s unbelievable.”

But there’s still the matter of those 10,000 votes (8,755 is precisely Mark Dayton’s lead). Much as he seemed to do in the campaign, with every new day of the recount procedure Emmer is getting more engaged.

He indicated he’s heard enough anecdotal reports to convince him the recount will justify top-notch legal preparation.

“There is a possibility — it’s on the long end — that we’re ahead,” he said. “They’re making this 8,000-vote difference seem like a mountain.”

The Emmer campaign and the Minnesota Republican Party today filed suit against St. Louis and Pine counties, alleging they are not responding to data practices requests in a timely manner.

“We’re having a little bit of trouble with some counties,” he said. “We can’t wait. They owe it to the public to get this done as quickly as possible. I commend [Secretary of State] Mark Ritchie for trying to be aggressive.”

As for the apocryphal comment this week from an unnamed Republican source that a legal stall could be beneficial, Emmer has a reminder: “The decisions are mine at the end of the day.”

And he leaves no doubt what his decision will be: “The one thing I will not be involved in is a sham. I will not be involved in something’s that’s purposefully used for delay. I will not be. That’s not what the court system is used for.”

It’s really the only definitive statement Emmer can make on the recount, but he has lots to say about past mistakes and future plans.

He says, for example, that his campaign — and he means himself — should have been “getting out there” months earlier.

Also, he believes he should have done more in “getting to the business community and making those one-on-one contacts, so that it didn’t take so long for them to know me. Tom Horner, he had 30 years of lobbying. They knew him, and he was planting perceptions of me that is not reality.”

Emmer also is smarting over the ads placed by the Alliance for Better Minnesota focusing on his drunk driving convictions.

“When those awful attacks came out — they just kept hammerin’ and hammerin’ and hammerin’ — Tom Emmer’s a drunk, and my family has to suffer and endure through this —that’s a bunch of …,” he says, his voice trailing off.

But although he raises questions about his campaign moves, he expresses certainty about how he would handle the governor’s office.

“I’m totally ready for that job,” he said. “I know exactly what you need to do. [There are] people who would have been — or will be — amazed to learn that it’s not about Republicans, Democrats — it’s about Minnesotans.”

Grammarians out there will note the use of both the past conditional and the future tenses.

In this election limbo, Emmer has become fluent in both.

Comments (21)

  1. Submitted by Christa Moseng on 11/12/2010 - 03:42 pm.

    “They owe it to the public to get this done as quickly as possible.”

    Any enterprising young journalist want to do a little research into the effects of LGA cuts on county clerk staff?

  2. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/12/2010 - 04:43 pm.

    Maybe Mr. Emmer has learned from the example of the Norm. Better to stand down gracefully and run again, than to be an idiot and have no political future in Minnesota?

  3. Submitted by David Willard on 11/12/2010 - 08:23 pm.

    Love the “idiot” comment, Bill. So tolerant.

  4. Submitted by Tim Larson on 11/12/2010 - 11:20 pm.

    //than to be an idiot

    //So tolerant.

    I think he was just trying to be…..Inclusive?

  5. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/13/2010 - 07:01 am.

    Rep. Emmer ran a decent campaign. I felt he treated both Dayton and Horner with respect and civility. He is a man that ‘means what he says and says what he means’. The public saw evidence of those principles in his campaign.
    There is no evidence to doubt that Rep. Emmer does not mean what he says..

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/13/2010 - 08:12 am.

    Yeah, meanwhile he files lawsuits against two counties for not releasing documents in a timely fashion, while everyone is in the middle of a recount.

  7. Submitted by Norman Larson on 11/13/2010 - 12:06 pm.

    Richard Schulze lives in a world that is a lot different from the one I live in. I saw Tom Emmer on TV many times, and he always had a smirk on his face and seemed very put upon to speak in public.

  8. Submitted by Patricia Gundersen on 11/13/2010 - 12:36 pm.


  9. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/13/2010 - 07:10 pm.

    To what degree are we as citizens aware of the moral principals that we are appealing to? Whether it’s the utilitarian idea, or some conception of individual freedom or some conception of civic virtue and the common good. I think that too often these days our politics does not articulate the moral principals or understanding of justice underlying the policies that we advocate. And I think that is one of the reasons our public discourse is so impoverished.

    Some religious arguments are dogmatic. Some secular arguments are dogmatic as well. Just listen to the arguments on the floor of the congress everyday. I don’t think that those whose views are formed by faith have a monopoly on dogma. And dogma is not a very good contribution to public discourse. But I wouldn’t associate it uniquely as some people tend to do with religiously informed moral arguments.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/13/2010 - 10:27 pm.


    Elections aren’t about morality, they’re about governance. You’re not voting for pastors and moral leaders, you’re voting for people to run your government and represent your interests. Unless your interest is to impose your morals on everyone else the only moral concern is that an elected official not be corrupt. Do you really want our moral direction to come from politicians?

    Elections are not and cannot be about voting for people who “believe” what you believe. Why? Simply because you cannot know what anyone really believes. You cannot know what is in someone elses mind and heart. Believing in something that is infallible doesn’t make you infallible. The reason you can’t vote for people who share your values is because once politicians figure out that’s how your voting, they simply lie. They rail on and on about the Sanctity of marriage between a man and woman while diddling pages or tapping toes in airport bathrooms.

    Of course then there’s the simple fact that our constitution doesn’t allow people to force people to live according to someone elses values. The very notion of a country where people are not allowed to live their lives according to their own values, is an anathema to free country.

    The reason you vote for what people say they’re going to do instead what they tell you they believe, is because actions are public, they can be observed and verified. Beliefs are private, they cannot be verified.

    Elections aren’t about winning the right to impose your values on everyone else. They’re about winning the privilege of serving your fellow citizens. Your beliefs are you business, you service is the people’s business.

    I noticed during the election, I was at many interviews and press and debates. Whenever anyone asked most Republican candidates a question, they always responded with a statement about their beliefs, even though no one asked. For instance at a local debate when asked whether or not he would support Sen. Dibble’s anti bullying proposal, the Republican candidate simply said he didn’t believe in passing too many laws. He didn’t even understand or ask what the proposal was.

    The reason our discourse is so dismal is because instead of discussing what we know, we argue about what we believe.

  11. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/14/2010 - 08:13 am.

    I feel that all three campaigns in the governor’s race were civil and respectful to one another. This was an article about Emmer, so I choose to favor him with an compliment about his campaign.

    In my experience, commenters always overstate the significance of every election. They seem to live in a world of mutual navel-gazing where hyperbole is the currency of trade.

    Given the abysmal level of intelligent decision-making on the part of voters of all parties (voting for someone because he looks honest or against someone because they don’t like the sound of their voice or that his smile looks like a sneer), I’m not even sure if it matters whether Tea Party people are more or less intelligent than the average.

    A “Republican wave” is not a statement of support for Republicanism, but rather it’s a statement of opposition to the current direction of the government, which direction has continued unabated since the last time the citizens demanded change, two years ago. If both parties refuse to get the message, we may see the control of the government flip from R to D and back again on a biennial basis for some time to come.

    There is a great deal of material here for good and careful writing, which makes it a particular shame that we get nothing more than jeering, befuddlement, and derision from the some of the knee jerk responses here.

  12. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/14/2010 - 11:31 am.

    Obama’s deficit panel weighed in on Friday with a plan that looks to be the first cogent, intelligent investigation into how we are going to dig ourselves out of the mountain of debt the feds have incurred.

    There’s something in there for everyone to hate, which the prevailing wisdom would have us believe makes it a good proposal: I agree.

    While the idea of tax increases makes my blood boil, common sense tells me it is inevitable. We are almost $14 Trillion dollars in debt; that amounts to more than the yearly financial contribution of every man, woman and child in America.

    Think about that.

    The consequences of that weakness are already being felt as the Germans and Chinese told Obama to pound sand last week, and the G-20 chimed in with advice to pound it properly.

    That being the case, the states are going to have to tighten their belts even further. The fact is that most people have seen their incomes tumble the past few years, either directly, through pay cuts or more cursory hits through mandatory time off.

    If we’re going to be paying more to the federal government, state governments must realize there is no way we are going to be able to shoulder across the board, unfocused increases at home.

    The era of bloated “general fund” spending is done and gone. It’s high time our legislators tie infrastructure improvements and some programs directly to targeted fees. The difference between a “fee” and a “tax” is that, if properly managed, the fee goes away when the bill is paid.

    There’s a lot of opportunity being made available. It remains to be seen if anyone in government is smart enough to take advantage, and tough enough to move the “Uh Oh squad” out of the way.

    I believe that Tom Emmer is such a man.

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/14/2010 - 11:51 am.

    “There’s something in there for everyone to hate”.

    Tom makes a very good observation. Which to me makes the proposals so intriguing in a no ox goes un-gored kinda way.

    The GOP has their “Pledge to America” which does a much better job of pointing out the problems facing America than it does of solving them, and for good reason. It was an electoral document, designed to win votes. As such, it is so much sugar and so little sacrifice.

    Most of the problems facing America will require solutions—whether it be increasing the retirement age, cutting Medicare, cutting defense spending or/and raising taxes—that cause real pain. Eventually, one of the parties will have to inflict it.

    I expect both parties in congress to come up with alternatives which will be notable mostly for the speed with which the other party rejects them. But they should be warned. Obama and the Republican house are both on probation. If they don’t make real attempts to govern competently, their time will end in 2 years. I’m not optimistic, but there are many good ideas in this proposal, which may lead to something constructive in the long run.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/14/2010 - 12:02 pm.

    //A “Republican wave” is not a statement of support for Republicanism, but rather it’s a statement of opposition to the current direction of the government,

    Well, on the State level This analysis obviously breaks down because the “direction” of the Pawlenty administration has been stalemate and paralysis. These results guarantee that paralysis will continue. On the federal level I really don’t think the governments direction has been the problem, again it’s the lack of direction and concrete action that has people frustrated. Support for the Tea Party has been way overrated. In many ways they were a dismal failure and may well have prevented the Republican picking up even more seats. Locally, I think Emmer’s absolute refusal to consider a balanced approach to the budget may well have cost him the election. Had his strategy been more like Horner’s I think may have pulled this off. Dayton’s relative extremism worked in his favor this time, Emmer’s clearly hurt him.

    I think the mixed results are simply a reflection of voters desire to put Dayton in office but insure some checks and balances. As decision they will come to regret as paralysis continues, the budget crises persists for the foreseeable future.

  15. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/14/2010 - 01:33 pm.

    Paul, there was a wave in MN and the Nation as a whole. The fact that this is the first time ever for the GOP to control both houses in MN says it all. And as you correctly point out, there are deviations from that phenomena.

    There was another clear message sent from the voters this election. Which was about tax increases.

    When you combine both Horner’s numbers and Governor-elect Dayton’s numbers, there is a clear voter mandate for new revenue. More folks voted for new revenue than those that voted for “no new taxes”. The numbers are pretty clear on that. What is also clear is that voters like divided government.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/14/2010 - 08:41 pm.

    //Paul, there was a wave in MN and the Nation as a whole.

    Yes, there was a wave, the question is what kind of wave? I don’t think it’s safe to say it was a Tea Party wave. I think it’s a wave of anxiety and frustration. Yes, voters seemed to reject the no-taxes regime when the voted for governor, but they guaranteed it’s continuance by electing a Republican House and Senate. Clearly a significant number of people split their vote, the question is did they realize what they were actually voting for?

  17. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/14/2010 - 10:16 pm.

    The tea party and the actions of the Republicans matter little. This election, like most elections, is a referendum on incumbents. If the Democrats had taken the long view, they would have focused on job creation and financial reform (a good centrist thing to do in a recession), leaving liberal reforms for a second Obama term. Instead they acted like they needed to hurry before it all fell apart, which became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The Democrat’s model of effective government only works with a booming economy that has a lot of money to waste on ineffective government. Until they learn to cut and change instead of simply growing government, their approach will fail, as there is simply not enough new money to keep adding indiscriminately.

    The Republicans don’t have answers either, but they’re not in power, so they don’t get blamed. Some leader in either of the parties needs to come up with a way to make disciplined and limited government popular, soon, or we’re going to lose the freedom and flexibility that allows individuals Americans to be successful, lost to the cause of feeding the every-growing government.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/15/2010 - 10:17 am.

    //Some leader in either of the parties needs to come up with a way to make disciplined and limited government popular

    Are you saying unlimited and undisciplined government are popular? No one ine the American political landscape is or has promoted unlimited or undisciplined government. This false dichotomy is at the very core of our polarized and incoherent political discourse. I renders a warped landscape whereby the only right answer is always “less”, “smaller”, and/or “no”.

    By definition in a liberal democracy the government is limited to those things that electorate consents to. Everyone “believes” that. The question is what do we want to consent to? The “limited government” or “Small government” argument obscures and perverts the public discourse by pretending we don’t have to decide what we actually want the government to do; all we have to do is dismantle or de-fund the government and it will be self limiting. Of course the idea that we’re avoiding choices is an illusion. Those championing “limited government” will decry government that imposes environmental rules on business while police power and arguing that privacy is a “legal fiction”. We end up with corporations that have the right to decimate the environment while the people lose the right to make a private phone call all under the auspices of “limited” government.

    No matter how you cut it, we forgo rational and informed public discourse about public policy at our own peril. If the people don’t decide what they want the government to do and no do, and then make sure the government has the resources to those things, someone else will make those decisions. And the answer isn’t always “smaller”.

  19. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/15/2010 - 10:59 am.

    Paul, I have friends on both sides of the debate, and at the end of the day we have more in common than than not.

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/16/2010 - 02:50 pm.

    //Paul, I have friends on both sides of the debate, and at the end of the day we have more in common than than not.

    Yes, the same can be said of combatants all over the world… who are killing each other. Policy matters, we can get it right, or we can get it wrong. Those are real people behind those numbers.

  21. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/16/2010 - 06:54 pm.

    And the sun will rise tomorrow under a blue sky. ;^)

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