6th District Republicans poised to endorse Emmer; primary fight ahead


Republicans in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District are ready to endorse Tom Emmer at their party convention in Monticello Saturday.

But that doesn't guarantee that he'll be on the November ballot. As MPR News reports, two other Republican contenders for Congress have launched primary campaigns and hope to defeat Emmer in that Aug. 12 contest to see who will run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Former state Rep. Phil Krinkie touts his business experience, telling MPR he's been a job creator for 30 years in the private sector and at the Legislature. Krinkie says over the years he's gained a pretty good idea of "...what it takes to get government out of the way in order to help us grow this economy."

Rhonda Sivarajah casts herself as a coalition builder in her role as the chair of the Anoka County Board of Commissioners. Sivarajah says instead of being an obstructionist she would advance Republican principles in Washington, telling MinnPost: “There’s lots of people that want to throw out the red meat and rile up the base, but that doesn’t get anything accomplished.”

Emmer, though, is ready to step into the role of frontrunner during this weekend's convention, calling on the party to unite. He was only narrowly defeated by Democrat Mark Dayton in the 2010 governor's race and has raised more money than either of his rivals in the Congressional race. Emmer tells MinnPost his fundraising success and the strong support he received at precinct caucuses this winter demonstrate his strength.

The 6th District elected Bachmann four times, although its boundaries changed during her years in Washington. It now extends from Carver County and St. Cloud in the west through the Twin Cities' northern suburbs to the St. Croix River valley.

The Pioneer Press says an analysis of voting trends shows it is the most Republican-leaning of Minnesota's eight Congressional districts.

Bachmann has been a divisive figure in Congress – loved by her conservative base and reviled by critics on the left. Her winning margin in her last House race was just over one percent.

Less than six months later Bachmann announced she would not seek re-election.

6th District Republicans kicked off their convention on Friday with a tribute to the Congresswoman. Bachmann was also scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

6th District Democrats will hold their convention on May 3, also in Monticello. Three candidates are vying for the party's endorsement for Congress: Judy Adams of Circle Pines, Jim Read of Avon, and Sartell mayor Joe Perske.

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