You might call it a razor sharp focus on jobs and the economy. You might also call it an attempt to avoid talking about stances on issues that don’t poll well outside of your base.
Whatever the reason, Republican candidate for Minnesota Governor Tom Emmer is avoiding talking on camera about social issues such as abortion, gay rights and immigration. It’s a change for Emmer since he has been very vocal on these issues while a Minnesota State Representative.
“I appreciate the question,” Representative Emmer will often begin when asked about any of these issues — and then will immediately go to his talking points on jobs and the economy. This was particularly noticeable during the recent debate at the University of Minnesota where students got to ask the questions. Immigration, gay rights and abortion questions were either rebuffed by Representative Emmer with, “my views on this issue are well known,” or the subject was quickly changed.
Until now, questions at the debates have focused primarily on the economy, education and health care because most of the organizations sponsoring the debates are business groups (5 debates), have ties to the medical community (3 debates) or have ties to education (2 debates). Media outlets have organized 8 of the debates and have followed suit by asking about economic, education and health care topics at these debates over and over.
Emmer’s opponents have not tried to avoid answering the social issue questions when they come up. Democrat Mark Dayton and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner agree Arizona’s controversial immigration law is a bad one that Minnesota shouldn’t try to copy and that a woman has a right to choose an abortion. Dayton supports marriage equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Horner prefers to talk about civil unions, not marriage for GLBT people.