by Dennis Dalman
Tom Emmer handily defeated Joe Perske in the Nov. 4 election for the Sixth U.S. Congressional seat in the House of Representatives.
It’s the seat now occupied by Rep. Michele Bachmann, now in her fourth two-year term, who decided not to run for re-election.
The unofficial vote total Wednesday morning was Emmer 133,324, Perske 90,921 and Independence Party candidate John Denney 12,459.
Perske, Sartell mayor, former teacher and coach, fought an uphill battle against Emmer, who had far more campaign funding in a district known for its deeply rooted conservatism.
Perske had told prospective voters he would work hard to strengthen the American middle class through decent-paying jobs, quality education and enhanced health care.
Emmer emphasized his conservative values during the campaign, including his stances against raising taxes and government waste and the need to strengthen the climate for American businesses and jobs.
Thomas Earl “Tom” Emmer, Jr., 53, lives in Delano. He and his wife, Jacqueline, have seven children. Born in South Bend, Ind., Emmer’s family moved to Minnesota. He attended St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, then Boston College and later the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he earned a degree in political science. He then went on to attend the William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, where he earned his law degree in 1988.
Emmer was a state representative from 2005-11. In 2009, he ran an unsuccessful race for governor, defeated by Mark Dayton.
Emmer has served on the city councils of Delano and Independence. Years ago, he co-hosted a radio talk show with Bob Davis for KTKL, Minneapolis. He is a long-time avid hockey player.
Emmer is Catholic, pro-life and strongly opposes tax increases. In 2005, as a representative, he introduced a legislative amendment that would have eliminated the state’s minimum-wage law. He also sponsored amendments to the constitution that would have allowed Minnesota to nullify federal laws and another amendment that would bar civil recognition of same-sex marriages.
At one time, Emmer worked for his father and uncle’s Emmer Brothers Lumber, which eventually became Viking Forest Products, now owned by Emmer’s brother, Jack.
Later, Emmer founded his own law firm.
Emmer says he believes government has grown too large and it no longer serves the people. Taxes must be lowered, he said, adding government should be a “resource, not a restraint” so individuals and businesses can move forward on a “path to prosperity.”
Tom Emmer is the winner of the Sixth U.S. Congressional race.