Today, Republican Tom Emmer announced that two well known Republican insiders are backing his campaign. Former GOP Congressman Vin Weber and national committeeman Brian Sullivan both say Emmer is best suited to bring together the Republican Party.
The endorsement comes just days after a group of state lawmakers announced they were supporting him.
"Every one of these makes a difference in terms of the sphere of influence that these people have," Emmer said. He added that Weber and Sullivan bring significant weight to his campaign.
"They bring more than just their name, they bring their history and their reputation and their involvement as leaders within Minnesota the Republican Party."
But here's a question: Do endorsements matter?
For example, Emmer announced the day before precinct caucuses that former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams was backing his campaign. The announcement received some fanfare in Duluth (and on this blog) but may not have delivered any votes, even in Grams' own BPOU.
Grams attended the Isanti County BPOU with his wife. He didn't seek to become a delegate, but I'm told that he was wearing an Emmer hockey jersey and worked the room hard for the Delano Republican. His wife, Chris, did seek to become a delegate but wasn't elected. In fact, Republican Marty Seifert picked up 16 delegates, Emmer picked up one, and one delegate is undecided.
I understand that the Republican endorsement for governor is neck and neck between Seifert and Emmer and every vote counts.
Are you, or have you ever been influenced by a candidate endorsement?
In this race, endorsement matter as there's not much to choose from and folks are likely to know endorsers better than the candidates.
If you can't pick on issues, and you can't pick on electability, you're left to see who lines up behinds them.
This strikes me as one of those questions that everyone will answer with a "no" because to say yes implies that you're a sheep.
I can't think of a time when an endorsement has really influenced me in a positive sense, but I can think of a few times where an endorsement from someone I didn't like has made me less likely to support someone.
Endorsements do not effect my voting decisions. They do however tell me a lot about the one doing the endorsing. If my local representative supports Seifert, Emmer or another candidate it tells me a lot about their own feelings about how our state should be run.
Back in 1984 I "endorsed" my wife for her successful run for St. Paul City Council. It sure influenced my vote plus that of the many friends, family and fellow church members at both St. Mark's and Nativity. Both of our family's were active in the community and I was convinced by her mentor that it would be important to her run. It was very hokey but we got more responce from that lit piece then those covering positions or issues. Besides it really pissed off her dfl endorsed opponent.
The Grams example in Isanti County doesn't really work because the Isanti County GOP leadership (supporting Seifert) did not give the list of delegates to the Emmer campaign in time for them to make any calls. Some Emmer supporters didn't even come to the convention because they didn't know about it.
Endorsements do matter - a campaign has to have their act together in order to convince the big names to jump on board. It is a sign of strength and momentum.