The Humphrey school at the University of Minnesota hosts a forum with the four candidates for secretary of state: Republican Dan Severson, Democrat Steve Simon, Libertarian candidate Bob Odden and Independent Party candidate Bob Helland.
It was a cordial Minnesota 6th district congressional debate right up to the closing minutes. That changed when Joe Perske (DFL) gave his closing remarks.
Perske, who had been reserved and focused on the issues during the previous hour, took aim at Tom Emmer’s (R) behavior and record in the Minnesota legislature that Perske characterized as “divisive” “bullying, threatening” and “uncooperative” not just to Democrats but to Republicans as well.
Perske also made reference to a bill Emmer sponsored in 2009 that would have allowed drivers convicted of a DWI to get their license back faster. Emmer himself had been ticketed for DWI multiple times. Asked about the tickets in 2009, Emmer said that he’d learned from the mistakes. “We all come to the Legislature with life experiences, but it has nothing to do with this bill,” he said. “This is a good bill.”
Given an opportunity during Tuesday’s debate to respond to Perske’s remarks, Emmer declined.
Political observers say Emmer is the favorite to win the seat currently held by Rep. Michele Bachmann who is retiring from congress. Even though Bachmann barely won re-election in 2012, the district is heavily conservative.
Transcript of Perske’s closing remarks
This seat has flipped back and forth between Republicans and Democrats the last three elections. Both parties say it is crucial to controlling the House this year. Rep. Mary Sawatzky (DFL) is one of the few DFLers who voted against legalizing same-sex marriage.
Minnesota Republican endorsed secretary of state candidate Dan Severson claims the new "no-excuse" absentee ballot legislation which allows any registered voter to absentee vote without an excuse specifically excludes military personnel from this privilege, requiring them to provide an excuse. The secretary of state office says Severson is wrong.