The gloves come off as Super Saturday approaches

The GOP candidates for governor are ramping up for this weekend’s push to court GOP delegates. This is the busiest weekend for the candidates since 43 BPOU conventions will be held (dubbed Super Saturday by both campaigns). That means there will be a full court press for Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer to stand out. And one way they stand out is by pointing out the flaws in the other candidate.

Seifert’s running mate, Rhonda Sivarajah, started the scuffle in an e-mail to supporters pointing out some of Emmer’s votes that may not sit so well with conservative activists. Those votes include the stadium referendum, tort reform and Northstar commuter rail:

A few key votes jumped out at me as I researched the candidates:

-Marty Seifert has been completely opposed to taxpayer funding for professional sports stadiums. In 2005, when the Republican leadership in the House pushed for a tax increase on Hennepin County residents, Marty stood up for taxpayers and supported an amendment to require a referendum so that Hennepin County residents could vote on the tax increase. Unfortunately, Representative Tom Emmer opposed this amendment.

-In 2005, Marty Seifert supported an amendment to the bonding bill to remove funding for Northstar commuter rail. Northstar was and remains today an expensive project that will require large taxpayer subsidies in perpetuity. Representative Emmer voted against this amendment to de-fund Northstar.

-Marty Seifert has been a consistent supporter of legislation that reflects his belief in personal responsibility. Marty voted for the “cheeseburger bill” which would have banned frivolous obesity lawsuits. Representative Emmer voted against this bill. Since Representative Emmer is a trial lawyer, it may be no surprise he opposed even this common sense tort reform effort.

I’d also like to discuss an issue that I’ve been asked about on the campaign trail regarding energy costs. I’m disappointed to hear about emails which have been circulating that clearly misrepresent Marty’s position. Like me, Marty opposes “cap and trade” legislation. Over the past few years, DFL legislators have introduced “cap and trade” legislation which Marty has consistently opposed (you can view an example here, with the roll call vote here)

You deserve a substantive discussion of the differences between the candidates for governor, however, other campaigns are doing a great disservice when supporters are intentionally spreading false information to mislead activists. Rest assured, Marty Seifert and I strongly oppose “cap and trade” legislation, and as governor, Marty will veto any “cap and trade” legislation.

Sivarajah’s e-mail prompted a response from GOP state Rep. Mark Buesgens, who is chairing Emmer’s campaign. Buesgens defended Emmer’s positions in an e-mail and targeted Seifert’s time as Republican House Minority Leader:

Some delegates have asked us about the allegation that Tom “walked out” on the House Republican Caucus after he lost an election for caucus leader. This is not true. Tom completed the 2007 session as Deputy Minority Leader and simply chose not to be part of Marty’s leadership team anymore. He was not alone in this decision.

The 2007-2008 House GOP Leadership Team consisted of Tom as Deputy and Assistants Brad Finstad, Dean Simpson, Kurt Zellers, Dennis McNamara and Laura Brod.

In 2009-2010 the team consisted of Steve Smith as Deputy and Assistants Sarah Anderson, Randy Demmer, Bob Gunther, Rod Hamilton, Carol McFarlane and Dan Severson.

Not a single holdover from one biennium to the next under Rep. Seifert’s leadership. Why? Because the caucus began to lose their way and stopped standing up for the Republican principles you and I believe in. The best example of this of course was the override of Governor Pawlenty’s veto of the gas tax increase.

When members of the Republican caucus started voting for tax increases and the leadership couldn’t prevent it, some members (including myself and Rep. Emmer) had trouble identifying with that “team.”

But Tom Emmer never stopped leading. He mentored new members of the House on policy and politics. He continued to lead our House floor strategy. And he continued to lead the debate against the DFL on the House floor with passion. Ironically, that passion was also the subject of a recent attack.

Buesgens also went after Seifert over Seifert’s support of a renewable energy bill (again):

Back in 2007, Marty Seifert jumped on the global warming bandwagon and voted for several energy/environment bills that have been driving up the cost of our energy ever since. Now he’s trying to run away from those votes by saying they weren’t really cap and trade bills.

One result of this legislation was Minnesota’s participation in the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System – as close to full fledged cap and trade as you can get right now. See for more information. But don’t take my word for it – when you search the Minnesota House website for “cap and trade” in the 2007-2008 session, the Next Generation Energy Act pops up.

Emmer’s campaign scheduled a news conference/campaign rally to announce some new supporters. This will be the third news conference from Emmer’s campaign this week.

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