Rep. Emmer confident as midterm elections approach

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Inflation is skyrocketing, gas prices are up and President Joe Biden’s approval ratings are down. It’s a recipe for what could be a difficult midterm election for House Democrats and their slim majority.

"What you saw in Virginia and beyond a few weeks ago … voters said, ‘We don’t want more government,’" Rep. Tom Emmer, R-6th District, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Wednesday. "We don’t want more spending. I think that’s going to be the same equation next fall."

Emmer is chairman of the House Republican Congressional Committee and in charge of the party’s effort to recapture the House.

He was talking about recent election results in Virginia where a Republican won the governorship and the GOP made big gains in the state legislature. Those results came as Biden’s approval ratings hover around 40%. Since then inflation has gone up, along with gas prices, and the Democrat-controlled Congress is passing trillions in new spending on social programs, climate change programs, and infrastructure.

Although Emmer is optimistic, former DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez says there is plenty of time before next November for Democrats to right the ship and the economy. "It’s enough time for things to change, and change back and change back again," he said.

One major wild card is congressional redistricting based on the 2020 census data. The Minnesota House DFL proposed a new map of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts this week, but they have almost no chance of becoming reality.

"I think you’d be hard-pressed to find in our history where the legislature and governor have actually passed a map that went into law," says Emmer. "I think almost every time it’s ultimately done by the Supreme Court or a panel from the Supreme Court."

The deadline for an agreement is Feb. 15. With an agreement between House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and the governor highly unlikely, the one thing Emmer and Melendez agree on is that the courts will have to decide the issue.

"The maps that are coming out right now are pretty much meaningless," Melendez said. "They’re fantasy maps."

The other wild card in the midterm elections is former President Donald Trump. He’s not on a ballot, but he’s likely to have an impact in several House races.

"The former president, a private citizen, he can do whatever he wants and he will," Emmer said. "We’re just going to make sure we have the right candidates running. We’re running on the right message."

Emmer wouldn’t say whether he will seek the help of the former president. He says it will be up to Republican candidates in each district to decide what kind of help they want.

You can hear more from Emmer and Melendez on "At Issue with Tom Hauser" Sunday morning at 10 a.m.