Minnesota voter guide: Where the 6th District candidates stand on the issues

6th Congressional District candidates Ian Todd (left) and Tom Emmer.
6th Congressional District candidates Ian Todd (left) and Tom Emmer.
Courtesy of Ian Todd's campaign | Brett Neely for MPR News

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer is campaigning for re-election in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, with Democrat Ian Todd aiming to flip the district for the DFL.

Emmer, a former state representative and conservative talk radio host, has represented the district since 2015. Todd is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

MPR News has researched the candidates' positions on several major issues based on their stated platforms and other public remarks:

On President Trump

Emmer: He endorsed Trump when he first secured the party nomination in 2016. Ahead of that election, Emmer stressed a need for the GOP to unify behind him. Since then, Emmer has said it's not his job to defend the president's character and that Trump's style might be rubbing Minnesotans the wrong way. According to the vote tracking service FiveThirtyEight, Emmer has voted in line with the president 89 percent of the time.

Todd: He has spoken out against the president on a number of issues, including his "deal making" skills.

On gun control

Emmer: He supports the Second Amendment and has introduced legislation laying out an appeals process for those previously denied purchase of a gun due to misinformation. He says mental health should be the focus when talking about preventing gun violence.

Todd: He supports universal background checks and an electronic system for registering firearms. He's also in favor of repealing legislation that hinders research on gun violence.

On health care

Emmer: He says health care models like the Affordable Care Act are "unworkable and unfair." He supports more choices for people seeking health care and voted in favor of the latest attempt to replace the ACA.

Todd: He supports a Medicare for All, single-payer system. Todd says health care is a right and the quality should not be determined by what you do for a living.

On K-12 education

Emmer: He supports localizing control of education and advocates for more choices for parents when deciding where to send their children to school. He says we should focus on innovative teaching tools so teachers are better equipped to educate students as individuals.

Todd: He supports subsidized, universal child care as well as more federal funding for public schools in Minnesota by way of a "fair progressive tax rate."

On higher education

Emmer: He says: "Congress must also work to protect students from the looming student debt crisis." He has advocated for more support for students studying in the STEM disciplines. He also supports a bigger focus on apprenticeships in the technology sector.

Todd: He favors changing the current support structure for higher education, saying public and community college could be free for students "if Pell grants were redirected to making college free."


Emmer: He advocates for increased vetting of people entering the U.S. He says he supports welcoming immigrants and refugees, pointing to a need for workers in open jobs.

Todd: He supports immigration reform that simplifies the system for becoming a U.S. citizen, which would also be available to those who have already entered the country illegally.


Emmer: He is against abortion rights and opposes using federal funding on abortion services.

Todd: He supports abortion rights. He is also in favor of increased focus and funding for birth control and sex education.

Jobs and economy

Emmer: He has said barriers hindering global trade and high taxes on businesses are negatively affecting the job market — he suggests eliminating some of those barriers and lowering individual taxes.

Todd: He supports unions and says the working class has "valid demands that we can only reasonably make when we organize." He opposes corporate tax cuts and supports more funding for social security and jobs programs.

On climate change

Emmer: He supports Trump's decision to rescind the Clean Power Plan, saying Minnesota companies are reducing carbon emissions without the federal government interfereing. Environmental groups rank him as one of the top climate deniers.

Todd: He supports the fight against climate change, saying the key is investing in clean energy and training for people to work clean energy jobs.

Copper-nickel mining

Emmer: He supports mining in Minnesota, saying the U.S. needs to end its dependence on foreign materials. He is confident in the environmental rules currently in place for these kinds of projects.

Todd: He opposes mining in northern Minnesota, saying "we must protect our precious Boundary Waters and not waver for corporate interests."


Emmer: He opposed the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, but has co-signed a letter opposing federal interference in states setting their own rules on marijuana.

Todd: He supports the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. "We should legalize cannabis, release non-violent drug offenders, and treat drug abuse as a public health concern instead of a criminal offense," he told CBS.