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Michael Brodkorb slings mud at Tom Emmer and his supporters at the legislature

by The Big E on December 6, 2011

MN GOP in disarray

When Tom Emmer defeated Marty Seifert for the MN GOP endorsement in the spring of 2010, it had consequences.  Seifert was the party insider, Emmer the back bench Tea Party candidate.  Seifert was perfectly positioned to represent his party, Emmer was better known for lobbing grenades from the peanut gallery.

Of course, the MN GOP rallied behind him.  At least as best they could.  Emmer got his campaign off on the wrong foot with his “servers make $100,000+” gaffe.  And never really recovered.  His campaign was horribly run and the candidate was a messaging buffoon.

But now that his boss Tony Sutton quit as Party Chair, former Deputy Party Chair Michael Brodkorb isn’t holding back.  

In an interview with MPR, Brodkorb ridiculed Emmer, blaming him for the party’s inability to fundraise and for being the only candidate capable of losing to Mark Dayton.  I love dirty laundry.

Brodkorb referred to Emmer as the “Bill Buckner of politics” – a reference to the Red Sox first baseman who made an error that cost his team the 1986 World Series.

“I think Republicans nominated the one candidate who couldn’t possibly win in 2010,” Brodkorb said.

Brodkorb also said the party had difficulty raising money because many donors weren’t happy that he was the nominee. He also said several Republican candidates didn’t want to campaign with Emmer because he was “toxic” to their campaigns.

Most of us aren’t aware of how bad it was.  We were all too busy with our own internal food fights that were part-and-parcel of the run-up to the DFL primary.  Furthermore, this kind of schadenfreude-licious stuff never leaks out during a campaign.

Here’s more on how bad it was.  Brodkorb was asked to elaborate and he did:

I don’t believe most party activists realized how dire the situation was for the party. We couldn’t mention Emmer’s name in generic fundraising scripts for the call center. After the tip-credit debacle, candidates for statewide and legislative office didn’t want to campaign with Emmer. We also had a problem getting surrogates to defend Emmer, so it fell to then-Chairman Sutton and myself.

Just look at the polls: Survey USA released a poll immediately following the MN GOP State Convention and Emmer had an 8-point lead over Dayton. Survey USA released a poll in early August and Emmer was down to Dayton by 14-points – a 22-point swing. The messaging mistakes made by Tom Emmer in the months following the convention cost him the election.

Legislators and others who worked so hard to ensure Emmer was endorsed were suddenly unavailable to help defend Emmer from the attacks in the weeks after the convention.

Brodkorb went on to emphasize how all legislators who backed Emmer at the convention were AWOL on Emmer’s campaign and went on to say they know who they are.

mtullius December 6, 2011 at 6:12 am

This was an awesome interview.  I liked how he said that Emmer after the endorsement was like a guy who wins the lottery and suddenly thinks he’s an expert on finance.

dan.burns December 6, 2011 at 6:14 am

Sutton himself goes, my impression – just my impression, I could be wrong – is that he’s an unusually vain and pompous individual, who just could not abide that anyone would dare presume to put a great man like him on the “hot seat.”  Ergo, his decision to flee, in such bush-league fashion.

TwoPuttTommy December 6, 2011 at 6:32 am

…it’s pretty clear that ol’ FEC Tony was pushed out/shoved out/kicked out.

It appears that the “political operative” antennae of Brodkorb was simply a little more finely tuned.

There actually are good and decent people that are Republicans, and it seems they were as repulsed by the actions and antics of Sutton and his sidekick – the subject if Big E’s post – “Mud Slinger Mike” Brodkorb.

This story ain’t over, folks – stay tuned!!!

ericf December 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

I had the impression going into the GOP convention that Emmer was the stronger candidate in terms of being the more agile debater and more engaging personality, but like Brodkorb, I thought Emmer knocked the puck into his own net with the $100,000 waiters, and then he mishandled it so much even the guy who dumped coins on him and ended an event that couldn’t have gone worse couldn’t save him. He really needed the DFL candidate (I believe this was before the primary) to screw up, and that didn’t happen. The timing made this the first thing many Minnesotans saw of him, so yes, he was one of those candidates that blew a winnable election, like some of the other wacky candidates who drew a lot of attention. Without a senate race, Emmer got a lot of attention. I wonder if he was almost saved by the many debates (20? 30?) he had with Horner and Dayton since he wasn’t speaking to all friendly audiences that might have encouraged more ignorant statements.

Then again who picked him? He won endorsement on the first or second ballot if I recall correctly, and he got something like 95% of the primary vote. Maybe the MNGOP wants to blame Horner, but having seen no polling data my sense is in a runoff, Horner’s votes would have gone more for Dayton than Emmer.

On the other hand, didn’t mean to get into a year-after analysis of the Emmer campaign, but he did some things right. The hockey jerseys were clever. He skated in parades which was attention grabbing, and when I saw Emmer’s people in parades, they had a lot of enthusiasm. They at least matched us in that.

Grace Kelly December 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Even this picture of Brodkorb shows one corner of smile higher, which is an expression of contempt. I have always had an impression of Brodkorb not respecting most people unless they had power.  

seano December 7, 2011 at 12:22 am

How do you go from savaging Emmer as a guy who is unelectable to working for Mike Parry, though?

ericf December 7, 2011 at 12:55 am

Step one, fail to recognize someone is unelectable until after the election. Two, be wrong about the problem. Of course, if you’re obnoxious and way off on the wacky right, you’re not likely to recognize that the problem is the candidate is obnoxious and way off on the wacky right.

Or maybe Parry just pays better. Or maybe he jumped before being tossed as the GOP caucus realized that not only didn’t it get much of what it wanted, but it got most of the blame for all that went wrong.

TwoPuttTommy December 7, 2011 at 8:44 am

Emmer didn’t put ol’ Mud Slinger Mike on the payroll; Parry did.

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