|Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Steve Stivers|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Minnesota's 6th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Michele Bachmann|
|Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives|
from the 19B district
January 4, 2005 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Dick Borrell|
|Succeeded by||Joe McDonald|
Thomas Earl Emmer Jr.
March 3, 1961
South Bend, Indiana, U.S.
University of Alaska Fairbanks (BA)
William Mitchell College of Law (JD)
Thomas Earl Emmer Jr. (born March 3, 1961) is an American attorney, lobbyist and politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 6th congressional district since January 2015. The district includes most of the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities, as well as St. Cloud.
Emmer served as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2005 until 2011 and was the Republican nominee for governor in the 2010 election. In the November 2014 general election, he won the 6th Congressional District seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann.
Early life, education, and early political career
Emmer was born in South Bend, Indiana; his family later moved to Edina, Minnesota. He attended St. Thomas Academy, an all-male, Catholic, military, college-preparatory high school in Mendota Heights, near Saint Paul.
Emmer attended Boston College and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, graduating in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He played hockey for both schools. In 1988 Emmer received a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Private sector career
Emmer began his legal career representing cities and counties through the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust and the League of Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, handling lawsuits against police officers. He also represented volunteer firefighters and city and county inspectors, and handled a variety of land use issues. He was licensed to practice law in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Minnesota House of Representatives
In 2004 incumbent Republican State Representative Dick Borrell of Minnesota's House District 19B decided to retire. District 19B includes portions of Wright and Hennepin Counties and the cities of Otsego, Albertville, St. Michael, Rockford, Delano, Montrose, and Waverly. Emmer, the Republican candidate, defeated Democrat Lori M. Schmidt, an attorney, 60%–40%, in the November 2004 general election.
In 2006 Emmer won reelection to a second term with 61% of the vote. In 2008 he was reelected to a third term with 61% of the vote. In 2010 he chose to run for governor of Minnesota rather than seek reelection.
During legislative sessions, Emmer regularly rode the bus to the Minnesota State Capitol. Emmer served on the Finance Committee, the Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee, and the State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee. He was also a member of the Finance Subcommittee for the Health Care and Human Services Finance Division, and of the Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Subcommittee for the Licensing Division.
2010 gubernatorial election
Emmer officially announced his candidacy for governor of the State of Minnesota in July 2009. In January 2010, Emmer came in second to Marty Seifert in a non-binding straw poll of Republican Party caucus participants. In April 2010, Emmer announced that his running mate would be Metropolitan Council member Annette Meeks. Emmer received the endorsements of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau. On April 30, 2010, the Republican Party of Minnesota officially endorsed Emmer as its candidate for governor at the state convention in Minneapolis. His main opponent, Marty Seifert, withdrew from the race and endorsed Emmer when it became apparent that Emmer was nearing the threshold for party endorsement. On August 10, 2010, Emmer won the Republican primary with 82% of the vote, a 75-point margin over Bob Carney.
The race attracted national attention as the "first case in this election cycle of a company hit by national protests over a campaign donation". Minnesota-based Target Corporation donated $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, a new political action committee paying for advertising that supported Emmer's gubernatorial election. Emmer said he viewed Target's donation as an exercise in free speech and wanted to keep his campaign focused on economic issues. Best Buy also donated $100,000 to Minnesota Forward.
Emmer trailed his Democratic opponent Mark Dayton by 9,000 votes in the initial general election results, a margin small enough to trigger an automatic recount. Most analysts felt it was unlikely that the Emmer campaign could overcome such a deficit in a recount. After the recount made little difference in the results, Emmer conceded the election on December 8, 2010.
Post-2010 election activities
U.S. House of Representatives
Upon the surprise retirement of U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, Emmer was considered a possible candidate for the Sixth Congressional District seat; his state house district included a large slice of the congressional district's western portion. On June 5, 2013, Emmer officially announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the seat. On February 4, 2014, Emmer received 67.9% of the vote in a 6th district straw poll. On April 12 he received the Republican Party endorsement for the nomination on the first ballot with 76%, but he still faced a primary challenge from his two competitors, Anoka County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah and former state representative Phil Krinkie. Emmer was endorsed by the Tea Party Express, Young Americans for Liberty's Liberty Action Fund, and many Minnesota legislators. He won the primary with 73% of the vote, and easily prevailed in the November general election.
In 2016 Emmer defeated Democratic nominee David Snyder, 66% to 34%.
In 2018 Emmer defeated Democratic nominee Ian Todd, 61% to 39%.
According to the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, Emmer held a Bipartisan Index Score of -0.0 in the 116th United States Congress for 2019, which placed him 192nd out of 435 members. Based on FiveThirtyEight's congressional vote tracker at ABC News, Emmer voted with Donald Trump's stated public policy positions 91.5% of the time, which ranked him average in the 116th United States Congress when predictive scoring (district partisanship and voting record) is used.
In October 2020, after it was determined that Stauber had interacted with individuals who tested positive for coronavirus in Washington D.C., such as Donald Trump, Emmer flew on a Delta flight in violation of Delta's rules, potentially exposing the other passengers to the virus.
Current committee assignments
- Committee on Financial Services
- Republican Study Committee
Emmer opposes abortion.
In 2009, Emmer voted against S.F. 247. This Minnesota law states that as of January 1, 2010, no manufacturer, retailer, or wholesaler may sell or offer for sale in Minnesota any children's product that contains Bisphenol-A, except for used children's products, which were prohibited after January 1, 2011. Emmer said he voted against the law because of fear of "increased costs." As well-intentioned as people may be, he said, "they don't think about what this vote means five steps down the line."
During an October 9, 2010, televised debate, Emmer said he would oppose legislation to combat school bullying against gay and lesbian young people. Emmer, who voted against anti-bullying legislation as a state lawmaker, said that teachers are most responsible for halting bullies, but suggested that the threat of lawsuits keeps them from doing so. "I don't think we need more laws; I think we need more understanding," he said.
Copper nickel mining in northern Minnesota
Emmer supports two copper nickel mines in the Superior National Forest planned by Polymet, which is owned by Switzerland-based mining giant Glencore, and Twin Metals, which is owned by Antofagasta, a Chilean mining company controlled by the Luksics, one of Chile's wealthiest families.
When the Department of Interior did not list copper or nickel as two of 35 "critical minerals" essential to national security, Emmer released a press release of a letter he wrote to Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke requesting that copper and nickel be included.
Emmer and Representative Pete Stauber both stood beside Assistant Secretary of the Interior Joseph Balash as he signed leases permitting Twin Metals to explore a large area of national forest land nine miles southeast of Ely for copper-nickel reserves on May 15, 2019. The Obama administration had mothballed the lease renewal pending an environmental review, but Twin Metals is now in possession of a 10-year lease to explore the area, with a view toward opening a mine there.
In 2009, Emmer sponsored a bill that would shorten the period of license revocation for driving under the influence and for refusing to take a sobriety test. Additionally, though "suspected drunken drivers [currently] face revocation before they go to court," Emmer's bill would have delayed revocations until after conviction. Supporters of Emmer's bill said "it's needed because pre-conviction revocations penalize drivers before proving they're guilty." Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the head of the Minnesota DWI task force opposed the legislation because it would allow arrested drivers to continue to drive during the time between their arrest and hearing.
Emmer's own history became an issue in relation to his bill. At age 20, Emmer received a driving under the influence-related ticket. In 1991 he pleaded guilty to careless driving while two charges for DWI and a license-plate violation were dropped. Emmer denied that his own drunk driving and legal consequences played a part in the bill, stating, "We all come to the Legislature with life experiences, but it has nothing to do with this bill." Emmer also said that his sentence in 1981 should have been harsher, because in that case he "probably wouldn't have taken the second chance" that led to his subsequent arrests and guilty plea in 1991.
On May 13, 2010, Emmer was one of three legislators not to vote on a bill that would have provided such tougher penalties for drunk drivers. He said he missed the vote when a previously scheduled lunch ran long, and that he had "no idea" how he would have voted on the bill, but that he "assume[d]" he would have supported it.
Emmer favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). After supporting the March 2017 version of the American Health Care Act (a bill to repeal the ACA), he voted for it on May 4, 2017, before it had been scored by the Congressional Budget Office to determine its economic impact.
Emmer supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries until better screening methods are devised, saying, "Everybody needs to take a deep breath. There is no litmus test based on religion. The administration and I understand it has — takes the seven countries identified by the Obama administration, not this administration, as the most dangerous countries when it comes to potential terrorists."
Pharmacy conscience clause
Emmer has supported "conscience clause" legislation that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraception on the basis of "ethical, moral or legal grounds as long as the pharmacist notifies their employer in advance and the employer can ensure a patient has timely access to the drug or device".
Emmer supported a state constitutional amendment banning civil recognition of same-sex marriage or its legal equivalent, stating, "I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman." In March 2007, Emmer introduced HF 1847, a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution "recognizing as marriage or its legal equivalent only a union between one man and one woman." Voters later rejected this proposal.
In 2019, Emmer sent a fundraising letter utilizing known antisemitic tropes: "Emmer's anti-Semitism lies in his use of the trope of a plutocratic Jewish conspiracy" His accusatory letter claimed that "left-wing radicals essentially BOUGHT control of Congress for the Democrats". The fundraising letter claimed that three Jewish billionaires (Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer and George Soros) “bought” control of Congress for Democrats.
In 2010 Emmer sponsored an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would allow the state to nullify federal laws.
Emmer strongly opposes tax increases. He has also proposed gradually reducing the state corporate tax, with the eventual goal of repealing it altogether.
On July 5, 2010, after visiting a restaurant in St. Paul, Emmer was asked during a press conference if he supported a tip credit, the policy of allowing businesses to subtract tips from a server's hourly wage. His response was "Yes... if you didn't have a minimum wage law", adding, "somebody could be taking home well over one hundred thousand dollars as a server" while the restaurant owner could be making much less.
One week after that press conference, Emmer announced a proposal that would exempt the first $20,000 a server makes in tips from state taxes. At the same press conference a protester dumped $20 in pennies in Emmer's lap.
- Helgeson, Baird. "Tom Emmer: Riding a new populist wave" Archived July 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Star Tribune, July 11, 2010.
- "Biography". Congressman Tom Emmer. December 11, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- Biography Archived March 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at Emmer's gubernatorial campaign website
- Profile of Tom Emmer at Minnesota's legislature's website
- "Emmer for Governor". Tomemmer.com. Retrieved August 2, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- Gueningsman, Ryan (July 13, 2009). "Governor Tom Emmer? Local lawmaker, attorney throws his hat into the ring". Herald Journal. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
- "Our Campaigns - MN House Seat 19B Race - Nov 02, 2004". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
- "Our Campaigns - MN House Seat 19B Race - Nov 07, 2006". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
- "Ourcampaigns.com". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Duchschere, Kevin. "Delano's Emmer plans run for governor", Star Tribune, July 6, 2009.
- "Emmer's gubernatorial campaign website". Emmerforgovernor.com. September 13, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Sarah Palin Backs Emmer, Minnesota Public Radio News, April 29, 2010.
- "Molnau backs Tom Emmer in gov's race | Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ". Minnesota.publicradio.org. January 25, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "2010 Elections – Governor". Star-Tribune.com. August 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 16, 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- Hamburger, Tom (August 17, 2010). "Gay rights group's talks with Target break down". latimes.com. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (July 18, 2010). "New Ads and a New Nod in Minnesota's Governor Race". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
- Logn, Martiga. "The Associated Press: Liberal groups push to exploit Target backlash". Google.com. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- Cummings, Jeanne (August 17, 2010). "MoveOn calls for boycott of Target". Politico.
- "Prelude to a recount". Politics in Minnesota. November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (December 8, 2010). "Emmer concedes; says Dayton is next governor". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
- Helgeson, Baird (February 14, 2011). "Emmer to lobby for effort he opposed as legislator". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "Johnson defeats Emmer for RNC Seat".
- "Ron Paul will launch his Minnesota campaign in St. Cloud". Archived from the original on October 18, 2011.
- "Large field of Republicans will vie for Bachmann's seat". KARE 11. May 29, 2013. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Linkins, Jason (June 5, 2013). "Republican To Join Race To Replace Bachmann". Huffington Post.
- "Emmer wins endorsement in 6th District". KARE 11. April 12, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Beldend, Doug (April 13, 2014). "GOP endorses Emmer for Bachmann's 6th District seat". Pioneer Press. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "Tom Emmer". LibertyAction. February 4, 2014. Archived from the original on May 2, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "Endorses Tom Emmer for U.S. Congress in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District". Tea Party Express. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index House Scores 116th Congress First Session (2019)" (PDF). Georgetown University. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- "Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump - Tom Emmer". ABC News. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- "Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump". ABC News. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- "Minnesota Republicans fly Delta home from D.C. after COVID-19 exposure". Star Tribune. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
- "Member List". Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (May 3, 2010). "In voting records, Kelliher and Emmer mirror images". Hot Dish Politics. Star Tribune.
- "Roll Call on S.F. NO. 247 CALENDAR FOR THE DAY Passage – Minnesota House of Representatives". House.leg.state.mn.us. May 5, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- "S.F. No. 247, 2nd Engrossment – 86th Legislative Session (2009-2010)". Minnesota Senate. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- Austin, Paul (October 6, 2010). "Five Steps Down the Line". StarTribune.com. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
- Hoppin, Jason (October 9, 2010). "Minnesota governor hopefuls square off over bullying laws: Dayton, Horner support legislation; Emmer calls for teacher protections". Pioneer Press.
- Marohn, Kirsti (September 7, 2018). "Emmer, McCollum weigh in on opening forests near Boundary Waters to mining exploration". MPR News.
- Jennifer, Bjorhaus (August 7, 2019). "What You Need to Know About The Polymet and Twin Metals Mines". Star Tribune.
- "Emmer Statement on Department of Interior's Final List of Critical Minerals". Retrieved May 21, 2018.
- Uren, Adam (May 15, 2019). "Trump Administration renews leases for mining project near Boundary Waters Two Minnesota congressmen were on hand for the signing". Bring Me The News.
- "Sponsor of DWI change has 2-ticket DWI record". StarTribune.com. March 29, 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Doyle, Pat (March 27, 2009). "Plan puts brakes on penalties for DWI". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Foti, Jim. "Sponsor of DWI change has 2-ticket DWI record", Star Tribune, March 29, 2009.
- Scheck, Tom. "Seifert keeps up pressure on Emmer on DWI issue", Minnesota Public Radio News, April 26, 2010.
- Helgeson, Baird (April 22, 2010). "Emmer DWI dustup, Day 2". StarTribune.com. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Foti, Jim (March 29, 2009). "Sponsor of DWI change has 2-ticket DWI record". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- Doyle, Pat (April 21, 2010). "Guv's race: Underwear, dirty laundry". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Doyle, Pat (May 13, 2010). "Emmer, MIA on DWI vote, ignites criticism". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Bakst, Brian (July 14, 2010). "Minnesota GOP hopeful Emmer tries to fix tip jam". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- "Pharmacists’ Conscience Clause" Goes To House Floor, Tom Emmer's office press release, March 9, 2006.
- Social Values page Archived July 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at Emmer's campaign website
- HF1847 Status in House for Legislative Session 85 Minnesota State Legislature.
- "Left or right, pro-Israel positions don't excuse anti-Semitism". J. August 16, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
- Sonmez, Felicia; DeBonis, Mike (August 7, 2019). "Head of House GOP campaign arm accused of anti-Semitism after letter claiming Bloomberg, Steyer and Soros 'bought' control of Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
- Kleefeld, Eric (June 22, 2010). "Emmer Defends Nullification: 'Minnesotans Should Have A Say In The Laws That Govern Them'". Talking Points Memo.
- "Taxes – The Issues". Emmer for Governor. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "GOP's Emmer Would Like To Cut Waiter Wages". YouTube. July 5, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
- Crosby, Jackie (July 5, 2010). "Emmer: Lower wages for tipped workers. The gubernatorial candidate says wages for restaurant workers are taking money from customers". Star Tribune.
- Bakst, Brian; Mulcahy, Mike (July 13, 2010). "Emmer's latest plan: Don't tax tips". Minnesota Public Radio. Associated Press.
- Van Denburg, Hart (July 15, 2010). "Tom Emmer doused with 2,000 pennies by protester [VIDEO]". City Pages. Village Voice Media. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
- "Tom Emmer - Biographies – About the Team". Emmer for Governor. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- About Us Archived May 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at Viking Forest's official website
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tom Emmer.|
- Congressman Tom Emmer official U.S. House website
- Campaign website
- Tom Emmer at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Tom Emmer at Minnesota Legislators Past & Present
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Minnesota House of Representatives|
| Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from District 19B
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Minnesota
| Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority
|114th||Senate: A. Klobuchar • A. Franken||House: C. Peterson • B. McCollum • J. Kline • K. Ellison • T. Walz • R. Nolan • E. Paulsen • T. Emmer|
|115th||Senate: A. Klobuchar • A. Franken (until Jan. 2018) • T. Smith (from Jan. 2018)||House: C. Peterson • B. McCollum • K. Ellison • T. Walz • R. Nolan • E. Paulsen • T. Emmer • J. Lewis|
|116th||Senate: A. Klobuchar • T. Smith||House: C. Peterson • B. McCollum • T. Emmer • A. Craig • J. Hagedorn • I. Omar • D. Phillips • P. Stauber|