Tom Emmer first to announce bid for Bachmann's House seat
The crowd knew why it was there -- two small boys were running around in homemade "Emmer for Congress" t-shirts, and an oversized "Emmer for Congress" banner hung from the front of the podium -- but it was waiting for Emmer to make things official: To announce his decision to run for Rep. Michele Bachmann's seat representing the Sixth Congressional District.
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Emmer obliged. "I have never felt more compelled in my life to serve," the conservative radio host, 2010 gubernatorial candidate, and former state representative said when he took the stage.
"It seems like every day we hear about another out-of-control Washington, D.C. power grab," he continued, ticking off recent national controversies like the IRS's targeting of Tea Party groups. "We need to restore the traditional role of the federal government, and I think you know what I mean."
Emmer started teasing his bid just hours after Bachmann released a middle-of-the-night video declaring that she would not seek a fifth term. "I am strongly considering running for the open seat being vacated by our Congresswoman," he said in a statement on May 29. Then, on June 3, he posted plans for the announcement in Delano, the Sixth District town where he lives.
But though Emmer is the first candidate to state his intentions, other Republicans are reportedly still mulling over bids of their own.
Not among them is former state Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, who took her name off the rumor mill on Tuesday and gave Emmer her support. Emmer said on Wednesday that he would "absolutely" abide by the results of his party's primary, and drop out of the race if he doesn't win the endorsement.
No Democrat has stepped forward to throw his or her hat in the ring. Following Bachmann's retirement announcement, Jim Graves, who narrowly lost to her in 2012 and was readying for a re-match in 2014, said that he would no longer run. Even without Bachmann to rally against, though, the DFL isn't abandoning its hope for the strongly GOP district.
"As a candidate, Tom Emmer just offers more of the same for the 6th Congressional District -- a voice for the hard-core right wing, not hard-working families," Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin said in a prepared statement.
For video of Emmer's full announcement -- he quotes Churchill, invokes the Founding Fathers, and name-checks the Alliance for a Better Minnesota -- check out The Uptake.