The race for the GOP endorsement for governor just got a whole lot more interesting. Republican Marty Seifert's campaign sent a letter to GOP delegates today criticizing Emmer's two DWIs. The 4 page letter was authored by Sandra Berg, whose husband and son were injured by a drunk driver.
"Our choice for the next Republican endorsse for governor is an extremely serious matter.
It is important that we delegates are aware of important, relevant facts before the Republican state convention. To hold these facts back and instead allow the Democrats, the Star Tribune or other news media to air out the racts in a general election campaign would be a supreme disservice to our party.
The fact is one of the major candidates asking for our endorsement for governor has been arrested for drunk driving. Twice."
Berg continued to write that she was disappointed that Emmer wasn't entirely forthcoming about the incidents when asked at a recent event if the candidates had "any skeletons in their closets." She also wrote Emmer tried to lighten drunk driving laws during his time in the Legislature.
Emmer's DWIs aren't new. They have been reported by a DFL leaning blogger and by the Star Tribune. Emmer's campaign was quick to note that and characterize the letter as a "Desperate April Surprise":
"We're all used to October surprises by the Democrats, but we never thought Marty would sink so low to launch this April surprise against a fellow Republican at the last minute before the convention," said Rep. Mark Buesgens, Chairman of the Emmer for Governor Campaign. "The fact is that Tom has been upfront with delegates about this issue. They were the subject of a newspaper article last year and Tom has been very forthcoming about his actions to anyone who asked."
Question of the day: What do you think? Should this be an issue in the campaign?
Update: Here's a statement from Seifert's campaign manager, Kurt Daudt:
"Republican activist and state convention delegate Sandra Bergs family was victimized by a drunk driver. As a result, she was moved to share important information with fellow Republican state convention delegates about Tom Emmers record: two past DWI arrests; his efforts in 2009 as a legislator to weaken the states DWI laws and cover up the fact he broke them; and not sharing this information when asked about a possible October surprise at a recent candidate forum.
Sandras letter provides factual information about a vital issue for the delegates to consider: the electability and credibility of candidates. At her request, the Seifert campaign distributed her letter.
While there is much in common between Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer on the issues, there are differences too. Marty will continue to run an issues-based, substantive campaign to lead Minnesota forward."
Update to the Update:
Emmer just released this statement:
Drinking and driving is unacceptable.
Like many, when I was young and stupid, I did young and stupid things. I have taken, and always will take responsibility for my mistakes. I was fortunate that I did not cause physical harm to my family or, God forbid, to another and their family. I have used my life experience to be not only an example but a teacher to my own children and anyone I come in contact with to learn from my experience.
I understand my colleague Marty Seifert and his desire to win at any cost, and I know that politics can be a contact sport for many. But even I have to say this attempt to smear my good name (in light of the fact that I have long been public with my past) reaches a new low and ignores the understanding and compassion for others in Minnesota who, after making the same mistake, have gone on to be some of the best leaders and teachers in this state.
I hope everyone, including Rep. Seifert and his political professionals, will keep in mind that it is not only what we have done in our life that matters - it's what we've learned from it. In fact, I not only take full responsibility for my past, I believe it is all of my life experience that has prepared me to lead.
Wow. The Seifert campaign exploits this poor woman for political gain? Then Mr. Daudt goes on to say the Seifert campaign continues to be positive? laughable. Marty Seifert has been slinging mud ever since he lost his huge lead.... nothing sticks, so he digs deeper.
This is the nail in Seifert's coffin. Thank god he will be out of politics forever. Unfortunately, POLITICS is the only thing he knows.
Looks like the woman brought up legit facts about Emmer. I watched the wcco news and they said Emmer wouldn't be interviewed for their story. Trying to hide something, Mr Emmer? My democratic friends tell me Emmer is their dream candidate. Now I can see why!
so wait a second, Tom Emmer gets called out for drinking anbd driving, and Seifert is suddenly the bad guy??? That makes a lot of sense..
When some random lady can no longer freely criticize a gubernatorial candidate without backlash, we don't have freedom; rather, totalitarianism.
If Emmer wants this much censorship out of office, how much will he mandate if he gets in office?
Press Conference, June 3, 2009:
Question: In the past, you've used the term "Democrat on Democrat violence" and made the comparisons to the watering hole and the National Geographic documentaries. Are we entering a phase now of Republican on Republican violence? How are you guys gonna sort this out?
Seifert: Well, I believe in Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment of not speaking ill of another Republican...so, I'm not sure. [Puts hand over heart.] There's not gonna be violence coming from this guy."
My favorite part of the letter is where she says, "We all know that good people make mistakes, and that Tom Emmer's arrests were made some time ago. But to the Democrats, the liberal news media and left-wing bloggers who create and then spread 'news' for widespread circulation, that won't matter."
Unlike the noble Marty Seifert. He has way too many scruples to use something like this.
Once is a mistake, and twice makes a pattern of recklessness. Is Emmer still drinking? I think it is an important question given how his judgment has been affected in the past.
Interesting article but why did it not contain basic facts about the two DWIs received by Emmer? The first was issued in 1981 and the second in 1991. Good reporting should include the facts underlying the story. Thanks!
How is Siefert coming aross to some as a bad guy? I didn't know about Emmer's DWI's and I've heard him speak, read articles about him, and seen debates. It's not exactly something he flaunts; in fact, he wouldn't admit to any mistakes at the debate that I attended. It is, however, something that delegates have a right to know before the convention.
DWI's are a big deal. I'm glad they were pointed out to me before I cast my vote at convention.
What else is Emmer hiding? He has a history of poor judgement and coverups. There is no way he's qualified or has the integrity we need to be governor.
I agree with Kim. This article never mentions the fact that these DWIs were 30 and 20 years ago! Showing some bias there?
Warning, I too am now biased after giving both candidates a fair shot to win my vote. For weeks I met and spoke with them and I studied both their records. I very nearly sided with Seifert but ended up going with Emmer.
Like anyone, I am against drinking and driving. I can't help but wonder how many of those that are supposedly outraged by this simply never got caught themselves!
I believe in the power of redemption. I believe Tom Emmer understands it was stupid, takes responsibility for it and hides nothing. Because he chooses not to highlight it and flaunt it in any debate or elsewhere is quite understandable.
With few exceptions, we were all young and stupid once. To say otherwise is simply denying the truth. "Let he who has no sin cast the first stone."
On the other hand, I'm saddened by Marty Seifert's thinly veiled personal attack against Tom Emmer. Prior to making my decision, I personally asked Marty to focus exclusively on his vision for our state - to refrain from personal or even "record" attacks against Emmer. Instead he and his campaign continued and still continues to practice "politics as usual". This is so the wrong year for that!
I will support Marty IF he wins endorsement but I must tell you, this is at least one Convention Vote (one that will count) that is still for Tom Emmer! I would encourage as many other delegates as possible to do the same!
As far as the DFLers saying they would prefer Emmer as their competition, I say, "Bring it on!" You had better bring a mop for your tears!
Did anyone bother to check their facts? Anyone can go online to access minnesota court records and I took the time to do this. The ONLY thing that Tom Emmer was found guilty of was careless driving. Ms. Berg was extremely out of line, and what about Mr. Seifert and his speeding tickets? How many people have been killed by reckless people driving over the speed limit? How about we just stick to the issues and run on that...and leave the unethical smear tactics to the demoratic party!
It absolutely disgusts me when campaigns go negative. Rep Emmer (like most of us) has made mistakes in his life but Tom is brave enough to "man up" and take full responsibility. Tom Emmer - you are a class act! I wish you the very best and you have my support!
Rod Hamilton - Mountain Lake, MN
When I met Mr. Seifert and Mr. Emmer. I came away with the impression that Mr. Seifert is a hard-working, knowledgeable and effective politician and Mr. Emmer is a creepy self promoter. Nothing I have learned about them since those meetings has altered that first impression. I don't trust Emmer to represent the Republican party as our candidate for governor.
LESLIE DAVIS FOR GOVERNOR!
LESLIE DAVIS FOR GOVERNOR!
Give me the test
I'll do my very best
To make our little state
Oh so very great
You can count on me
To fight for liberty
Think how great is would be with me as Governor. Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, Ethics.
Leslie Davis 2010
". . . Mr. Emmer is a creepy self-promoter."
"Creepy?" What are you in 5th grade? Come on. Mr. Emmer is a class act.
When we Break the Law and get caught there could be consequences that continue for a life time. As a recovering alcoholic with 35 years of sobriety and a very successful life, I am still reminded of my 2 DWI convictions of 36 years ago when I apply for positions that require a Background Investigation.
Tom Emmer said that he takes full responsibility for his actions on one hand. But on the other hand he has a difficult time accepting that , because of his behavior in the past the roosters have come home to roost today. Suck it up Tom you can't un ring a bell.
Why should we give him a pass when we have a better choice in Marty Seifert and no CRIMINAL BAGGAGE to explain in October .
I have met Tom Emmer a few times at a neighbor’s home over the last 7 years over some Brats. He is passionate and is fairly black and white (not a lot of grey on 20-30 topics).
If he didn't have a House and Senate to answer to I might be nervous because I don't agree with 100% of his view points. But he does have others to answer to and therefore I can say with complete confidence that he is willing to take on special interest and move the state in the right (pun intended) direction. He has my vote.
Like every single solitary human reading this text, look in your past and you will come up with dozens of skeletons that you should be embarrassed over! The guy lived in Alaska. Yea, he drank!! While we are at it I suppose he has lusted over other women, made racial jokes, kicked the dog, lied, smoked pot at least once, cheated on his taxes (even by a little). Heck, maybe he hired an “illegal alien” to watch his litter. Who knows.
Independent of what you personally think of his political views or if Marty is your guy, do you think YOU would honestly scrap your guy over some mistakes when you were young and stupid?? If so, every person is disqualified if we dig deep enough.
To the person who said that Emmer is a dream candidate for the Dem’s. Really?? I bet Norm thought that of Franken. If we were living in a purist state, do ya think we would have voted in Jesse???
I am so very sorry for what you and your family have had to endure; I understand how this issue (DWI) is so very significant for you.
But Marty, shame on you! Have you forgotten we all play for the same team? I believe that you had a fair shot for the Republican endorsement all the way up until your misguided decision stab a fellow Republican in the back by placing your name on the letter from Sandra Berg. Thank you for making the endorsement for us delegates an easy one. You revealed your moral fiber and you have clearly demonstrated that you do not have what it takes to be the next governor of Minnesota.
No, Tom is not perfect, I was sad to hear that he made such poor decisions in his youth, but I feel he demonstrated a great deal of character as a candidate who refused to retaliate after a blow like that.
I am not the same person I was 20 and even 30 years ago...neither are you, and neither is Tom. I am grateful that Tom has taken the high road and has chosen not to retaliate. He makes me proud to be a Republican! Now, more than ever, the future of Minnesota is dependant upon a leader who will choose integrity when times seem desperate; and you have made it abundantly clear that you are not the man for the job. Marty, I am so disappointed in you!