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Minnesota's Emmer will be House Majority Whip

Minnesota Republican Rep. Tom Emmer will hold the third-highest ranking position in GOP's congressional majority in 2023.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer will hold the third-highest post in the presumptive GOP majority in the US House in 2023.

Rep. Emmer's Republican colleagues Tuesday elected him as majority whip, a signal of how much trust House leadership has placed in him.

"It is an honor to be entrusted by my colleagues with the role of Majority Whip," read a statement Emmer released to the media.

"Now the hard work begins. It’s time to unite our conference and deliver on our promises to the American people."

Emmer, an unabashed conservative who first went to Congress in 2015, represents the deep red Sixth Congressional District, which wraps around the Twin Cities exurbs and extends to the northwest past St. Cloud.

"This is a very important position," Kathryn Pearson, a University of Minnesota political science professor and congressional expert, told KARE.

"The majority whip is responsible for making sure the majority party has 218 votes, or more, to pass the majority party's legislation. That requires close collaboration with the leadership team, so the whip is involved in key decisions."

The whip position was open because the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to become House speaker, and current Minority Whip Steve Scalise will likely become the new House majority leader.

Emmer, in Tuesday's balloting in the GOP Caucus, won support of his colleagues over Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana and Drew Ferguson of Georgia. Emmer, as whip, will play a key role in some of the upcoming battles over continuing budget resolutions to keep the government open month to month.

"The majority whip pretty much needs to be in contact with every member of the majority party and the whip is responsible for knowing how they're going to vote. Surprise vote tallies can be a big embarrassment," Pearson explained.

In recent years, Emmer has headed the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC's main job is to get more Republicans elected to Congress and to capture the majority. 

TV viewers have come to know the NRCC as one of the Washington-based groups that air attack ads against Democrats in swing districts.

"I think the fact he chaired the NRCC and has good relationships with a lot of different types of Republican members, and a good relationship with McCarthy."

The predicted "red wave" didn't materialize in last Tuesday's election, but Republicans are on track to gain enough seats to retake the majority and topple California's Nancy Pelosi from the House Speaker slot.

The Senate and the White House will still be controlled Democrats, so some of the bills the new GOP Majority will pass will be about making a statement heading into the 2024 General Election.

"House Republicans will vote on a lot of message bills, in other words, bills that they want to stake out the Republican position, but don’t have a chance of getting signed into law."

After Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul was attacked last month, Emmer was criticized for a Facebook post that featured him taking target practice with a rifle. The post included his normal #FirePelosi hashtag, which he defended.

Before going to Congress in 2015, Emmer spent six years in the Minnesota House and carried the GOP banner in the 2010 race for governor. Emmer came within a half-point of Democrat Mark Dayton in that race, triggering an automatic hand recount.

Emmer, an attorney and father of seven, grew up in Edina and currently resides in Delano.

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