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Smart Politics Projections: Minnesota State Senate

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Impressive GOP gains to fall short of Senate takeover

Current partisan split
DFL: 46
Republican: 21

Incumbents
DFL incumbents: 40
Open DFL seats: 6
Republican incumbents: 16
Open Republican seats: 5

Unchallenged seats
No DFL on the ballot: 2
No Republican on the ballot: 0

Analysis
Presuming Minnesota experiences a GOP tidal wave that is even half as powerful as the one about to hit the rest of the country on Tuesday, there are certainly many DFL State Senate seats ripe for the picking. The DFL won 11 Senate seats by less than 10 points in 2006, plus the special election in SD 16 in 2008. Of those 12 seats, eight were pick-ups.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is GOP gains in the Senate have always been incremental, and stunted as compared to those in the House, even in cycles with notable Republican momentum. So, while Republican pick-ups of as many as 15 seats look quite feasible on paper, history suggests the GOP will fall short of that mark.

And while Republicans will still yet to have won control of the upper chamber - a feat that has eluded them since partisan ballot elections returned in 1974 - the Party will inflict enough losses to derail a DFL veto-proof majority for not simply 2011, but also even if there is a Democratic rebound in 2012 after new district lines have been drawn.

Projection
Partisan shift: GOP +8
Partisan control: DFL hold

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Remains of the Data

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Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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