ST. PAUL, Minn. — Republican Tom Emmer, a staunch opponent of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage, has finally conceded defeat to Democrat Mark Dayton in Minnesota‘s governor race — Dayton will become the state’s first Democratic governor in more than 20 years.
“Minnesotans made their choice, by however thin a margin, and we respect that choice,” Emmer said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The concession comes after a statewide recount failed to significantly narrow Dayton’s 9,000-vote advantage over Emmer.
You may recall that retailers Target and Best Buy were among several Minnesota firms that gave large donations to MN Forward, a political action group that supported Emmer’s campaign, prompting boycotts and backlash from customers and activist groups due to Emmer’s position on LGBT rights.
All three organizations were eventually stripped of their perfect scores in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index, and dropped from HRC’s annual buyer’s guide as a result of the donations.
Dayton, who previously served as U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 2001 to 2007, supports LGBT rights and same sex marriage.
In 2006, while serving in the Senate, Dayton voted against a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. He has supported civil marriage equality in his gubernatorial platform, and has pledged to support anti-bullying legislation that specifies sexual orientation.
Dayton will take the oath of office on Jan. 3, replacing Republican Tim Pawlenty.