Slow and steady Emmer rallies while primaries approach
posted at 2:02 am on August 3, 2010 by Amy Ritter
O’Gara’s in St. Paul was packed out Friday night with Tom Emmer supporters awaiting his arrival at the final stop of a daylong, statewide tax rally. By seven o’clock over one hundred enthusiasts swelled the room with political prattle amid bold signage and a battalion of buttons.
Supporters whistled and hollered Emmer onstage, along with his wife Jacquie, after addresses by Chris Barden, candidate for State Attorney General, and candidate for Lt. Governor Annette Meeks.
Emmer used his time on the stump to dig into the “guys on the democrat side” and what he cited as their outdated, inefficient method of governance.
“They’ve got a playbook too, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the exact same playbook they’ve been offering to the state of Minnesota for decades and it has only one play in it, it’s called ‘tax and spend’. That’s all they offer,” Emmer declared.
While Emmer and his policies are a clear choice for many constituents who attended Friday’s gathering, there has also been blatant resistance to the Emmer’s agenda.
Television ads opposing the candidate have frequented Minnesota airwaves, but Emmer rode his own currents, touring the state on a listening initiative called the “Freedom and Prosperity Project”. Emmer’s wife Jacquie said the experience has been a highlight of the campaign:
“The most exciting thing is traveling the state and meeting a ton of people on Main Street who think like we do; they’re feeling the same things that we’re feeling. It’s very tough to see our friends and family loosing jobs and I just want to do something to help those people. We have to help each other,” commented Mrs. Emmer.
The flight tour comes to a close just before primary elections next Tuesday where one of three DFL candidates will become Emmer’s opponent for November. A poll released Sunday by the Star Tribune placed Emmer 10 points behind leading DFL candidate Mark Dayton, who has far outspent his republican counterpart.
Emmer, however, displayed as much lack of concern for his fiscal limitations as conservative blogger Mitch Berg, among supporters at O’Gara’s, did for the Tribune poll, which he has termed a “useless appendage that serves only as a morale-builder for the DFL”.
“You know what? We’re not going to stop, they can spend as much money as they want, but as long as I’ve got her and we’re together and we’ve got you, we’re going all the way,” said Emmer, referring to his wife and supporters.
Emmer focused the rest of his speech on the plight of Minnesotans he met on his tour of the state, which included stops in Detroit Lakes, Mankato, and Duluth.
“This is about all of us and the future that we want for our kids. Together we’re going to make this place a place we can be proud of. And we’re going to turn something over to our kids other than debt. We’re going to turn over the greatest future we can possibly give them in the state of Minnesota,” Emmer concluded.
Young and old lingered at O’Gara’s for live music and hobnobbing after hearing from the candidates. Jenna Tempte, a 24-yr-old volunteer for Emmer’s campaign and several others, stood with a confident smile in the midst of the excited aftermath explaining a realization she had after college that motivated her political involvement.
“The America I had grown up loving was kind of falling apart and the values, morals. You know, people have always kind of disagreed, but we’ve kind of gone for a similar goal. But now it seems like people are disagreeing even on that and there isn’t a whole lot of discussion, so I’m concerned about that.”
For Chris Van Guilder, press secretary for the Emmer campaign, controversy has been a source of conversation as he takes questions from Minnesotans on a daily basis. Open and candid answers are standard, according to Van Guilder, whenever issues arise on the campaign trail.
“We do what we can to offer our side of it and its good to see that folks out there are interested.”