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Tom Emmer has high expectations to meet in 6th Congressional District campaign

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Tom Emmer announced his candidacy to a group of about 100 supporters gathered Wednesday in his hometown of Delano.

Perhaps the biggest challenge that Tom Emmer will face as a Republican candidate for Congress in the 6th District is running a campaign that will meet the high expectations he already faces.

Even with no other announced candidates, Emmer enters as the front-runner in the contest for the Republican endorsement to succeed four-term Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who said she would not seek re-election in 2014.

“I’m running for Congress to change the culture in Washington and restore Americans’ trust in our government,” Emmer told a group of about 100 supporters gathered Wednesday in his hometown of Delano, a Wright County community in the conservative heart of the 6th District. “Let’s get excessive regulation and taxes out of the way.”

He likely will face competition for the Republican endorsement, which he said he would respect.

State Sen. John Pederson of St. Cloud said he intends to file as a candidate by the end of the month. Former legislator Phil Krinkie, a 16-year legislator who now is president of the Taxpayers Leauge of Minnesota, and state Rep. Matt Dean have said they’re considering entering the contest.

However, Emmer, a former three-term state representative and the GOP nominee who lost to Gov. Mark Dayton in 2010, already has a base to build on.

“From the minute Bachmann got out, Emmer was in very strong position,” said political consultant Michael Brodkorb.

“He has a donor file, access to major fundraisers and the ability to pull together a team quickly,” he said. “He lost a very close race for governor. It will make him a disciplined and hungry candidate who will assemble a team that will put him in a position to win.”

Emmer’s advantage as a seasoned campaigner is also his liability.

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was quick to point that out in a statement: “In Emmer’s unsuccessful 2010 run for governor, he drained Republican Party resources and turned off the party’s major donor community. Many attribute his Ron Paul- and Sarah Palin-backed candidacy to sending Republican and independent votes Tom Horner’s way.”

The battle scars may have been worth it, according to Brodkorb.

“Tom did well in the 6th when he ran for governor,” he said. “This is an absolutely different kind of race, but Emmer comes in with an appreciation of knowing where he’s going to hit.”

At his announcement, Emmer did away with one likely controversy. He indicated he would be leaving his job as a host on talk-radio station KTCN. “I think it’s better that I do this full time, sooner. If you’re offering to do a job it seems to me that you should devote your full time to the job,” he said.

And the job of running for Congress from the 6th district will be a marathon, not a sprint.

With businessman Jim Graves’ recent decision not to run again for the seat, there is no declared DFL candidate at this point. However, there has been an explosion of statements and announcements from other likely and potential Republican candidates.

With the election nearly 18 months away, the race has barely begun.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 06/06/2013 - 09:43 am.

    small improvement

    Well, he looks like a shoe-in. I guess he’ll be a little less embarrassing than Bachmann, but at the end of the day no less wrong politically.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/06/2013 - 10:12 am.

      Marginally less embarassing

      and you are quoting THAT Michael Brodkorb?
      The GOP may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  2. Submitted by Tom Knisely on 06/06/2013 - 10:21 am.

    A Better Option Than Emmer

    It is one thing to talk about limited government on the radio. It is another to have a proven track record of Conservative governance while leading a successful county. Anoka County Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah is a much better option than Tom Emmer. She’s a principled Conservative, with a record of accomplishment, she honest, hardworking and earnest. If she gets in this race it will be for all the right reasons.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/06/2013 - 11:04 am.

    …..“I’m running for Congress to change the culture in Washington and restore Americans’ trust in our government”….

    The “loudest” culture in Washington is the anti-government, obstructionist, pro-business Republican party.

    He’s not going to change that–he’s just going to be another ill-informed voice in the Republican chorus.

  4. Submitted by David Broden on 06/06/2013 - 11:20 am.

    6th District Vision and Integrity for the Future

    The 6th district need visionary representation that has a positive view of the role of the federal government and how all citizens must be engaged to evolve return to the Positive Good Government legacy of Minnesota GOP and for that matter both parties. The Mn GOP demonstrated a path to good government in line of elected individuals over the years of 1938 to about 2004– lets return to that legacy with a positive collaborative vision. The entry of Emmer and others considering the race and comments by a past political consultant suggest that the 6th district will be presented with more of the same rhetoric but no substance. The dialogue regarding the ideology of the candidates and vision for a positive view of government role and citizen participation must begin now and be decided in a primary. The long positive legacy of moderate progressive GOP candidates and elected officals will be the winner as Minnesotans confirm the Mn values that show in each election where a real choice is available. Candiates such as Emmer and other of similar ideology have right to run but the real candidate is the view of the voter and my guess is the voters want a real Minnesota style leader. Lets have some these step forward.

    Dave Broden

  5. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 06/06/2013 - 01:55 pm.

    He certainly is very well suited

    For the incredibly low expectations that many people have for Republican representatives from the 6th district.

  6. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 06/06/2013 - 02:38 pm.

    Excessive regulation?

    I do hope Mr Emmer takes a tour of West, Texas before he gets too invested in the “less regulation” bandwagon.

  7. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/06/2013 - 03:55 pm.

    Republican’s self proclaimed are “Open for Repair”

    If Emmer is what “repair” looks like to the Republican Party brand then the political wilderness will remain the homestead of the Republican Party. The Republican’s are offering personalities, not leaders. How many politicians have stated they are going to Washington to change Washington? The answer is many. The results have all been the same, none have been successful. The Republican’s don’t need personalities they need leaders to put forth. They already have personalities running the Republican Party with the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck and there isn’t a leader in the pack. Emmer praised Bachmann for what she has done in Washington. She has zero bills to her name, now that is contribution deserving of praise. The Republican Party political war will continue. No progress seen as far as repair goes.

  8. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/06/2013 - 02:54 pm.

    Agent of change?

    “I’m running for Congress to change the culture in Washington and restore Americans’ trust in our government.” Good luck with that one.

    If he is elected, Mr. Emmer will be just another freshman backbencher. He has no particular background that would turn him into a media star, so his national exposure will be limited. The House leadership would have no reason to give him a particularly hot committee assignment. He will, like most freshmen, go along with whatever the leadership wants him to do. Sure, he’ll introduce a few flashy bills for the hometown media’s consumption, but it won’t be anything that makes a difference. Unless “changing the culture in Washington” is what the boys are calling “being another face in the crowd” these days, Mr/ Ememr is in for a let-down.

    It’s the same let-down that virtually any freshman would have. Rep. Bachmann has better media smarts than Mr. Emmer, so she was able to get her face all over the news right away (her little tonsil-hockey game on the House floor with President Bush didn’t hurt). No freshman is going to make a splash without talents I don’t see Mr. Emmer possessing. It takes a few terms to turn heads.

  9. Submitted by David Broden on 06/06/2013 - 06:59 pm.

    Congress is no Pre-School– It needs

    Going to Wash DC requires someone who understands the role of Congress in the government process- it requires some who can distinguish a republic from a democracy– after all we are a republic and that requires knowledgable elected officials–not those what follow the wind of opinion- we need leaders not just rhetoric speaker- we need people that will do the best for the country by working for compromise for the best solutions. The 6th has had none of this for the past several terms– but MN has shown better- can do better and will do better by selecting seasoned people as candidates and that does not mean past elected or policical junkies but rather good strong value orient risk taker who know how to work in team to a common good objective. The 6t district is demanding this type of leadership not a retread or a political repeater of the past negatives of as communicated by the hard right– a MN moderate progressive GOP voice will win big in the 6th– and this person will understand what government is, how it works,,and why it works for the good of the republic– ask James Madison or other they had it right — too many today cannot even name who formed the process. The real candidate will.
    Dave Broden

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