Huffpost Politics

Tom Emmer To Run For Michele Bachmann's Seat

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) may be taking leave of her seat in Congress at the end of her current term, but that doesn't necessarily mean the overall level of Bach-mania is necessarily going to diminish. If you were excited, for instance, by Bachmann's storied hostility to the LGBT community, then Roll Call's Emily Cahn has the candidate for you:

Former state Rep. Tom Emmer is expected to announce on Wednesday evening that he is seeking GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann’s seat, according to local reports.

Emmer, a Republican who waged an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in Minnesota in 2010, is the first GOP hopeful to announce his candidacy in the 6th District race since Bachmann announced her retirement last week.

Yes, if you're looking for a Bachmann replacement, you could do a lot worse than the evolution-denying, anti-gay, Palin-endorsed Emmer.

Abe Sauer put together a comprehensive profile of Emmer back in 2010, when he was mounting his ultimately unsuccessful campaign to become Minnesota's governor:

A Minnesota House of Representatives member since 2004, Thomas Earl Emmer Jr.'s positions are jarringly reactionary for a state where even the right prides itself on some degree of progressiveness. Called "Minnesota's most conservative GOP gubernatorial candidate in decades," it's no surprise he likes to play with guns, or at least give the appearance of doing so. Not only does he support the state's allowance of concealed carry, he introduced the Firearms Freedom Act, exempting Minnesotans from federal rules or regulations on their arsenals.

Emmer wants to cut government services by at least 20 percent. But poor people vote too, so how did Emmer propose cutting service costs without having to outright deny poor people access to state assistance? He authored bill HR857, which mandated drug screening for Minnesota Family Investments Program eligibility.

But he can be fun too. Emmer also authored bill HF1131, which greenlights surgical or "chemical" castration of sex offenders. Naturally, he's not just anti-abortion-he authored a bill that said Minnesotans had "no constitutional right to abortion." And, despite blaming the media for many of his woes, Emmer's name is on bill HF0936, allowing "News media representatives to enter polling places for up to 15 minutes during voting hours to observe the voting process" and "make a list of persons voting or not voting."

Oh, but here's the weirdest bit: "Most eye-opening is Emmer's support of an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that makes way for federal laws to be ignored at the discretion of the state. It defines Minnesotans as 'sovereign individuals.' A seemingly tame little twist of diction that hides a revolutionary, some might say downright anti-United States, posture." Yes, Emmer is a bit of a radical "tenther." Per Eric Black at MinnPost:

Emmer favors an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would block federal laws from taking effect in Minnesota unless the congressional enactment was accepted by the Minnesota Legislature and the governor. In fact, the application of a federal law would require an affirmative vote by a two-thirds supermajority of each house of the Minnesota Legislature, and a signature by the governor to take effect in Minnesota.

Yes. Really. As a legislator, Emmer was not the chief author but one of three leading co-sponsors of the proposed amendment. Read it for yourself. The text of the proposed amendment is here. Laws enacted by the Congress to apply to the whole country would not take effect in Minnesota unless they cleared that triple hurdle. And let’s face it, given the current state of American politics, nothing with the least whiff of controversy is going to pass. One third of either house, or a governor by him/herself, could erect a symbolic fence that would prevent the latest laws from Washington from taking effect in Minnesota.

With that in mind, it seems pretty clear that Emmer would probably compile the same sort of legislative record as his predecessor.

As Cahn reports elsewhere, Bachmann's 6th District was recently "redrawn to be more favorable to conservative candidates following redistricting last cycle," and so it's likely to yield a fairly crowded field of contenders for a GOP primary. And Tom Emmer might not ultimately be the "next Bachmann." Per Cahn, State Representative Peggy Scott, another potential candidate, has already "tried to brand herself as 'Bachmann 2.0.'”

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