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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published September 03 2010

Emmer’s son pays price for drinking

ST. PAUL – Alcohol use continues to be a Minnesota governor campaign issue with one of Tom Emmer’s sons pleading guilty to underage drinking.

Thomas Earl Emmer III, known as Tripp, was ticketed early July 10 in Douglas County, and court records show he has paid the $100 fine, $75 surcharge and $10 law library fee.

The petty misdemeanor is getting more attention than similar infractions because past alcohol-related charges have been used against his father, the Republican governor candidate. An anti-Emmer television commercial exploits the 1981 and 1991 drunken-driving charges, saying that as a legislator, he tried to ease drunken-driving penalties.

Also, Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Mark Dayton said earlier in the campaign that he himself is a recovering alcoholic.

Tripp Emmer is among the candidate’s seven children featured in the campaign’s first television commercial. In it, the 20-year-old says that his father is “always talking about cutting taxes and reforming government.”

The candidate frequently mentions his children during campaign stops.

The younger Emmer was ticketed at 1:48 a.m. on July 10 just north of Alexandria.

“My son made a serious mistake and has paid the consequences,” candidate Emmer said in a statement his campaign released. “It was a mistake, which many Minnesota families are all too familiar with. Like all the other challenges in life, our family is dealing with our son in this matter with humility, seriousness and love.”

Tripp Emmer is also the subject of a Thursday post on the City Pages website, which shows photos that have been removed from his Facebook page. They appear to show him holding beer bottles and cans at a party.

Candidate Emmer, who has said that he himself made mistakes when he was arrested for drunken driving, did not mention the photos in his statement; some of the photos show obscene drawings on a woman’s arm and face.

Past politicians also have faced problems with their children. In 2000, Sen. Rod Grams was forced to deal with his son’s felony charges, and just before his term ended in 2003, Gov. Jesse Ventura fought the media that reported his son held parties that damaged the official governor’s residence.


Al Edenloff of the Alexandria Echo Press contributed to this story. Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.