Emmer’s got “big mo”


In 1980, fresh off a win in the Iowa caucuses, former Ambassador George H.W. Bush told the people of New Hampshire that his campaign for the presidency was on the right track. In the fractured syntax that would define Bush for generations of Americans, he declared that his campaign had the “big mo,” as in momentum.

As the Minnesota Republican Convention kicks off, Tom Emmer has the big mo. And in the nip-and-tuck race for the GOP endorsement, that may be enough.

The week’s been good to Emmer. Marty Seifert named his running mate, Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, months ago. This meant that Emmer’s announcement of his running mate — überconservative Metro Council Member Annette Meeks — gave Emmer a spot of coverage that Seifert couldn’t counter. Follow that with the news that former Sen. Norm Coleman is cold-calling on Emmer’s behalf, and most important, the endorsement of former Gov. Starbursts Herself, and you’ve got a perfect storm of conservative cred swirling around the state representative from Delano.

Comparatively, Seifert’s had…nothing of note happen this week.

The GOP race is going to be very close, probably as close as the Brian Sullivan/Tim Pawlenty donnybrook of 2002. And that means every little bit of last-minute oomph matters. And right now, all the oomph is with Seifert.

That said, it’s important to remember what happened to the guy who coined the phrase “big mo.” Bush crashed and burned in New Hampshire, beaten by a former actor and California governor named Ronald Reagan. His “big mo” lasted until the night of the primary.

Momentum is something. It’s not the only thing. And it will be interesting to see whether Emmer’s momentum swing is enough to put him over the top — or whether, as in January, the sound and fury surrounding his campaign leaves him a bit short.