Tom Emmer’s previous drunken driving charges have resurfaced in the neck-and-neck Republican gubernatorial contest.
State Rep. Marty Seifert’s campaign released a letter Tuesday from a delegate who criticizes Tom Emmer’s legislative push to weaken drunken driving laws while at the same time failing to disclose at a recent candidate forum that he had two previous drunk driving charges.
“I was shocked to learn that Tom Emmer was not entirely forthcoming,” wrote Sandra Berg, a Chisago County delegate who said her husband and son were seriously injured when their car was struck by a drunken driver. “He also used his role as a lawmaker to attempt to weaken the kinds of laws he had previously broken and to cover up the fact that he had broken them.”
Emmer’s campaign was quick to condemn the release of the letter eight days before the state Republican convention.
After falling behind in the straw poll vote, Marty Seifert sunk to a new low by attacking Emmer for his two DWIs from 20 and 30 years ago, the Emmer campaign said in a statement.
“We never thought Marty would sink so low to launch this April surprise against a fellow Republican at the last minute before the convention,” said state Rep. Mark Buesgens, chairman of Emmer’s campaign. “The fact is that Tom has been upfront with delegates about this issue. They were the subject of a newspaper article last year and Tom has been very forthcoming about his actions to anyone who asked.”
Seifert campaign manager Kurt Daudt defended the release of the letter.
"Republican activist and state convention delegate Sandra Berg’s family was victimized by a drunk driver," he said in a statement. "As a result, she was moved to share important information with fellow Republican state convention delegates about Tom Emmer’s record: two past DWI arrests; his efforts in 2009 as a legislator to weaken the state’s DWI laws and cover up the fact he broke them; and not sharing this information when asked about a possible ‘October surprise’ at a recent candidate forum.”
Daudt said the letter “provides factual information about a vital issue for the delegates to consider.”
He added that the campaign released the letter at Berg’s request.