Last night, after I learned about Team Seifert’s attempt to smear Tom Emmer, the candidate I’m supporting, I wrote a post expressing my outrage with Seifert’s tactics. After pondering what I’d written, I deleted that post.

First, I want to make several things clear: I can’t imagine the pain that Mrs. Berg and her family have gone through. From this day forward, I’ll pray that her son and her husband make complete recoveries and their anguish will eventually disappear. Second, it’s important that everyone understand that I don’t condone drinking and driving. In this post, you won’t hear me attempt to rationalize Tom Emmer’s actions decades ago.

Rather, what I will do is ask Rep. Seifert’s supporters if you feel comfortable with supporting a man who would use a family’s grief for political gain. That’s what Team Seifert is attempting to do, though they won’t admit that’s what they’re doing.

Mrs. Berg’s letter didn’t expose some deep, dark secret. According to the factsheet that Mrs. Berg referenced, the Star Tribune wrote about this a year ago. Late last night, I spoke with a friend who is a casual activist and a reliable conservative. When I told my friend what had happened, my friend said that that didn’t seem like news because it was reported a year ago.

Tom answered questions honestly and forthrightly when the Strib article broke a year ago. Though I’m sure it wasn’t comfortable for Tom to answer those questions, it was important that he answer them. That he took the heat then is a testament to Tom’s honesty.

Hardcore activists, like me, heard this information long ago. Still, it isn’t surprising that some conservative voters hadn’t heard about it.

In her letter, Mrs. Berg said that the DFL likely would’ve used that information against Tom in the general election. I agree. The DFL wouldn’t have hesitated in using this information. In fact, I’m betting that they’ll attempt to use it this fall.

The question I want Seifert supporters to ask themselves is whether they can trust a man who plastered this on his website:

Any Seifert for Governor campaign employee or member of the Seifert for Governor team that engages in negative campaign tactics of a personal nature against any opponent of either party will be fired or removed from the campaign should those charges be proven.

The letter sent to select delegates to next week’s state convention was sent out on Seifert for Governor stationary. It represents the vilest type of personal attack I’ve seen in a decade.

Let’s remember this important fact: the letter wasn’t sent to all state convention delegates. If Team Seifert thought this was a big ethical issue, why didn’t Team Seifert send it out to everyone? Might it be because their real goal wasn’t to express outrage but to win over undecided delegates? I won’t accuse them of that but that’s a distinct possibility.

My question for Seifert supporters is this: is this the type of campaign you signed onto? I suspect it isn’t. If you’re tired of this type of dirty politics, then isn’t it up to you to put a stop to it? Isn’t it up to you to let Rep. Seifert know that he’s gone too far?

When the DFL tries personal attacks against a Republican candidate, we come together and reject the politics of personal destruction. If we want credibility, don’t we need to reject it when Republicans cross that line?

Whether you continue to support Rep. Seifert or not, isn’t it your responsibility to demand he stop with the personal attacks? Isn’t it time you told him that you’re rejecting the politics of personal destruction and division?

I sincerely hope that Rep. Seifert apologizes for engaging in this type of politics. If he doesn’t, he should be told in no uncertain terms that he’s gone way too far this time.

Readers of this blog know that I’m part of Tom Emmer’s Steering Committee because I’ve worked hard to not hide that fact. This post isn’t an attempt to defend Tom. He’s perfectly capable of doing that himself. Rather, this is written solely from the perspective of an activist who expects better behavior from conservatives.

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9 Responses to “A Letter To Seifert Supporters”

  • Donna Foster says:

    While I share many of your sentiments about this issue and the “negaitve campaign” aspects of it – don’t you think the delegates that are deciding who to endorse are entitled to know what the opposition can use against the candidate? When Tom Emmer first announced that he was running, he came to Rochester for a “meet and greet”. I specifically asked him at that time, “tell me now what I’m going to have to defend” I explained that anyone can talk like a conservative – and he has the voting record to back it up – but what I wanted to know was what we campaigners and supporters were going to have to defend – because that is what ultimately kills a campaign. Imagine my surprise to find all of this out now. He never mentioned it – even though I SPECIFICALLY asked about stuff like this. Did he think it wasn’t going to be brought up? ELECTABILITY is a large part of the consideration for delegates in the endorseing process. Damaging information like this is a part of that electability. Not because WE are unforgiving – but because of the way this type of information can be used by the opposition to sway voters who are otherwise uninformed – which is sadly the majority. This is a fact of life! While you are asking Seifert supporters if this is the type of campaign they signed up for – ask yourself why Tom wouldn’t warn supporters that this was coming. I’m all about forgiveness – and Tom deserves to be able to live his life – but to try to hide this from delegates who may hve been unaware of it smacks of dishonesty. Many of the delegates this year are Tea Party people who haven’t been paying attention for very long. Tom should have bee more forthcoming about his past. Especially when he was directly asked about it.

  • Janet says:

    The other side of this comment is that is someone who would stoop this low electable? I support Emmer, this is old news, and yes, the DFL will/would use it.uUt what if the reverse had happened? What if there were something in Marty’s past of 20-30 years ago – would you take the same stand? Who knows, maybe there is but the Emmer campaign didn’t dig to find it. Then again, the Seifert campaign didn’t have to – Tome came clean last summer.

    TO say I’m disappointed in the timing of this attack by the Seifert crew is an understatement.

  • MplsSteve says:

    Tom Emmer has been less than honest about his DWI. I know of several people who have asked him “Is there anything we should know about in regards to your past?” The answer was always “No”. In short, he lied.

    And then there was his bill to remove past offenses (like his DWI’s from the public record. Amazingly, Tom never bothered to do a bill like this prior to his running for Governor.

    Tom Emmer has also been less than honest about his votes on funding the Twin Stadium back in ’06. I met him at the State Fair last year and expressed my disappointment about the Twin Stadium bill. He said “I voted against it. I thought it was wrong”.

    But surprise surprise surprise, he didn’t tell the whole truth. He voted for an amendment to strip the bill of the referendum requirement. He denied me the right to decide whether I wanted to be taxed for the stadium – and failed to mention it to me.

    His excuse for voting for it (as posted on his wesite) is nothing but pure undiluted BS. He played politics and games and the end result was to cost Hennepin County voters. He knew that a referendum would have failed miserably in hennepin County – but apparently, he didn’t care.

    I’ve seen Tom Emmer on the floor of the House more times than I care to remember and he is nothing more than a bloviating disingenuous lout. if he’s the GOP nominee in November, I’ll sit this one out.

  • If I, a complete neophyte to the political process, knew about the DWI before this story broke, anyone could have known. So I don’t get this sense of betrayal being expressed, as if there was some kind of coverup. It was public and readily available knowledge. Google anyone?

  • Donna Foster says:

    What you knew and what people could have know isn’t the issue. The issue is that there are those who didn’t know. While Emmer supporters are claiming he has been open about it – I’m telling you he was not. I’m also pointing out that this will be an issue that will have to be justified abomgst the populace – and that the Democrats will make it worse than it was. Remember Mark Foley?n Everyone thinks he was having illicit relations with actual underage pages – when in truth – he was having an illicit e-mail exchange with FORMER pages who initiated the exchange and who, at the time of the e-mails were no longer pages nor were they underage! But none of these facts kept the press and the Democrats from running on a “culture of corruption” message and winning! Meanwhile – we have Emmer supporters convincing people that the mere mention of this information by the Seifert campaign represents some sort of unforgivable sin! This is exactly the kind of “feeling” I would be encouraging if I were a closet Democrat wishing to get Republicans to0 stay home in November. Grow up people – and start living in the real world!

  • Gary Gross says:

    Donna, if it was important for everyone to know, why did this letter only go out to a portion of the delegates? This was a desperate attempt by a flailing candidate to regain a semblance of political momentum going into the convention. PERIOD.

    FWIW, Tom’s handled the situation properly & with alot of grace. He hasn’t attempted to justifiy his actions, saying repeatedly that “It was wrong then. It’s wrong now.”

  • walter hanson says:

    Gary:

    I know you’re a big Emmer supporter, but given the fact that George Bush’s DWI arrest almost cost him the presidency by the lack of disclousure I think Emmer should’ve realized that he had to be ready to handle this better.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • MplsSteve says:

    Gary-

    The question is not whether Tom Emmer has apologized sufficiently and gracefully for his past DWI’s.

    I personally do not hold it against him in that he had run-ins with the law in the past. That was the past and I’m certain he’s changed since then.

    The issue here is Tom Emmer’s lack of candor with (a) his own supporters and (b) with other GOP activists.

    He has blatantly lied about his DWI’s in conversations about with GOP activists and he has blatantly lied about his votes on the Twins stadium.

    Worse yet, he proposed a bill that would have eliminated those DWI’s from the public record. There really is no amount of bloviating on his part (BTW, something Tom specializes in) that can take this away.

    For all of his years in the Legislature, he sure picked an unusual time to sponsor a bill like this – one year before he ran for governor.

    What else can we expect Tom Emmer to lie about?!

  • Gary Gross says:

    He has blatantly lied about his DWI’s in conversations about with GOP activists and he has blatantly lied about his votes on the Twins stadium.

    Tom’s answer has been consistent & reasonable. He’s said numerous times, in so many words, that he won’t defend the indefensible. Let’s remember the exact wording of Mrs. Berg’s letter:

    At that debate, both Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer were asked a question about whether there were any skeletons in their closets:
    “Is there anything that we should be concerned about in considering your candidacy that could be an “October surprise‟ for you as a candidate?”

    This isn’t a surprise. It’s been written about before. Tom’s explained himself dozens of times on this & the answer has been consistent. He hasn’t called on anyone to defend his actions because he won’t defend his past actions. How that’s lying is beyond me.

    As for Team Seifert, their actions have been despicable & transparent. During his interviews with WCCO’s Esme Murphy & KSTP’s Tom Hauser, Marty repeatedly said that this was a compelling issue that needed to be told. He said that that’s why he agreed to send it out on Mrs. Berg’s behalf. It’s strange that the letter never made into the mailboxes of Tom’s solid supporters. It only went to the people considered undecided or whose support was wavering.

    If it’s that compelling of information, then I wouldn’t have hesistated in sending it to every delegate & alternate.

    This was an attempt to win undecideds. I hope that desperate attempt fails.

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