Emmer looked like a campaigner in Elk River on Monday

by Jim Boyle


He hasn’t stated publicly that he will run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Michele Bachmann, but Tom Emmer’s visit to downtown Elk River on Monday sure seemed to suggest he has made up his mind to do it.

Tom Emmer
Tom Emmer

The Delano man took a walk yesterday along Main Street and Jackson Avenue in Elk River with a film crew in tow. He made stops at the Olde Main Eatery — a familiar stop for Bachmann — and River’s Edge Commons Park.

Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, who was with him, introduced him to Elk Riverites who spotted the former gubernatorial candidate and stopped to see what the stir was about.

Jennifer Ashfeld, a co-owner of the Eatery, didn’t need any introductions. She said her husband Greg was bummed he wasn’t there.

“He’s at Valleyfair today,” she said. “He’s wishing he was here.”

The Star News talked to Zerwas, who said he supports a run by Emmer to be the next Sixth District congressman to represent Elk River.

“We talked about the needs of Elk River,” Zerwas said of his conversations with Emmer. “Tom can bring a different approach — a less polarizing and more focused approach to the things that are important to Elk River.”

Bachmann’s decision to seek re-election has touched off a scramble among possible Republican successors in the conservative Sixth Congressional District.

Zerwas acknowledged that he’s heard political pundits mention Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, as a possible candidate, but he said he’s received no indication from her that she’s considering.

“Mary’s fantastic, but she’s done nothing that leads me to believe she’s going to run,” he said.

Zerwas said Emmer is the best person he’s heard talked about, and he has his endorsement. He likes the prospect of Emmer at Washington, D.C., fighting for Highway 10 and I-94 improvements and other matters important to Elk River. He also noted Emmer has the campaign infrastructure in place to be very successful in the Sixth District.

Emmer will reveal his intentions Wednesday. The former state representative and GOP candidate for governor plans an evening event in his hometown of Delano for what he calls an “announcement” on the race.

Zerwas said he will be there.

Bachmann’s Democratic opponent, Jim Graves, dropped out after she announced her plans to not seek re-election.