With 919,238 votes (43.7%) Mark Dayton is holding a slim lead over Tom Emmer (910,382 votes; 43.2%) but the race is too close to call. Tom Emmer and Mark Dayton are contestants in the 2010 gubernatorial elections in Minnesota in a race many political analysts are calling a tossup.

A member of the Minnesota DFL Party (affiliated with the Democratic Party), Mark Dayton has previously served as the senator (2001-2007) as well as the state auditor (1991-1995) for Minnesota.

In 2004, Tom Emmer was selected to be a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Emmer is currently a member of various committees viz. the Finance Committee, Oversight Committee, The the Health Care and Human Services Policy and the State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee.

Comparison chart

Mark Dayton versus Tom Emmer comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartMark DaytonTom Emmer
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Preceded by Rod Grams Dick Borrell
Born January 26, 1947 (1947-01-26) (age 63), Minneapolis, Minnesota March 3, 1961 (1961-03-03) (age 49), South Bend, Indiana
Political party Democratic-Farmer-Labor Republican
Spouse(s) Alida Rockefeller (divorced) Jacqueline
Residence Minneapolis Delano, Minnesota
Alma mater Yale University University of Alaska Fairbanks, William Mitchell College of Law
Occupation Politician Lawyer, Politician
Religion Presbyterianism Roman Catholic
Introduction (from Wikipedia) Mark Brandt Dayton (born January 26, 1947) is a member of the Minnesota DFL Party. He served as U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 2001 to 2007 in the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses. He also served as Minnesota State Auditor from 1991 to 1995. Thomas Earl "Tom" Emmer, Jr. (born March 3, 1961) is a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Republican nominee for governor in the 2010 election.
Website http://markdayton.org/mainsite/ emmerforgovernor.com
Stand on abortion Pro-choice, against late term abortions Pro-life
Economic Policy Stimulus spending on infrastructure to create jobs. Borrow by issuing bonds. Cut taxes. Reduce government spending.
Healthcare Policy Expand the "public option" so more people are covered. Allow people to buy their own health insurance by providing tax breaks and allowing purchase of health insurance across state lines.
Stand on same sex marriage Dayton believes that anyone should be able to marry and have full benefits regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Emmer believes that marriage is only between one man and one woman.

Economic Policy

Both candiates have focused on job creation in their economic policy proposals and both have released jobs plans. Highlights of Dayton's jobs plan include:

As a Republican, Tom Emmer believes that "an expansive and expensive state government has crippled our business environments". Emmer's economic policy proposals call for a tax reduction plan that adds up to more than $600 million in cuts for businesses.[1] Emmer has been opposed to the Obama administration's Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka stimulus package). Highlights of Emmer's jobs plan include:

Position on Healthcare Reform

Similar to their economic policy, Dayton and Emmer follow the Democratic and Republican party lines when it comes to healthcare.

If elected, Dayton promises to expand the state government’s existing “public option” to cover more Minnesotans, and to pass the proposal submitted by Education Minnesota that allows school districts to come together and negotiate health care benefits at lower costs for public school employees. He also shows support for the Single Payer health plan.

Emmer believes that healthcare can be made cheaper through competition and not "through artificial cost reductions, restricted access and government-dictated standards". He has advanced the Health Care Freedom Act, that offers "tax deductions to individuals to purchase their health care, eliminate[s] costly insurance coverage mandates, and allow[s] Minnesotans to purchase health insurance products across state lines".

Position on Social Issues


In the 1998 gubernational election, Dayton stated that he supported legalized abortions . He also mentioned that he was against ‘third-trimester’ abortions and ‘partial-birth’ abortions. Tom Emmer is pro-life.

Same Sex Marriage

Dayton supports "full marriage equality with full benefits". Emmer believes that "marriage is the union between one man and one woman".

Gun Control

While Dayton claims to support the Second Amendment, his voting record on gun control indicates that he supports certain gun control legislation including trigger locks, background checks on private sales of firearms and banning guns in schools.

Emmer is a strong supporter of gun ownership rights. On May 7, 2009, he introduced a bill, the Firearms Freedom Act, which would exempt Minnesota from federal registration of guns or ammunition manufactured in Minnesota and sold or possessed by Minnesotans.

Debate Video

Dayton vs Emmer in Opinion Polls

Poll source Dates administered Tom Emmer (R) Mark Dayton (DFL)
Rasmussen Reports October 20, 2010 41% 44%
Survey USA October 11-13, 2010 37% 42%
Rasmussen Reports October 6, 2010 38% 40%
Humphrey Institute/MPR September 22-26, 2010 27% 38%
Minnesota Poll September 20-23, 2010 30% 39%
Rasmussen Reports September 22, 2010 42% 41%
Survey USA September 12-14, 2010 36% 38%
Humphrey Institute/MPR August 31, 2010 34% 34%
Rasmussen Reports August 12, 2010 36% 45%
Survey USA August 2-4, 2010 32% 46%
Minnesota Poll July 26-29, 2010 30% 40%
Rasmussen Reports July 19, 2010 36% 40%
Survey USA June 14-16, 2010 35% 38%
Decision Resources, Ltd. May 28 - June 2, 2010 28% 40%
Rasmussen Reports May 24, 2010 37% 35%
Humphrey Institute/MPR May 13-16, 2010 31% 35%
Survey USA May 3-5, 2010 42% 34%
Rasmussen Reports March 10, 2010 35% 38%

Election Campaign Highlights

Dayton released his first ad campaign on the 14th of June 2010 that cost him over $300,000. It is an ad that features introductory messages from the candidate. $500,000 was spent by Alliance for a Better Minnesota, to launch an attack ad against Emmer on 6th July 2010.

Position on Education

If elected governor, Mark Dayton proposes to decrease tuition fee at college level to encourage students to learn in Minnesota. He also insists on increasing the compensation that the teachers currently receive. Tom Emmer is of the view that the fundamental philosophy on which American schools were established, need to be reformed. He is of the opinion that children in America have different variations of talents and challenges. He proposes reforms in compensation for teachers, in choice of schools (public, private etc) and affordability through grants, scholarships.

Immigration Policy

In 2000, Mark insisted on curbing the bureaucracy at Immigration and Naturalization Services in order to tackle the backlog of applications that were waiting to be responded to. Emmer is in favor of enforcing federal laws that govern illegal entry / stay of workers in the United States of America.


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