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Smart Politics Projections: Minnesota State House

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GOP looks to notch biggest gains in Minnesota House since 1978, though lower chamber takeover still difficult

Current partisan split
DFL: 87
Republican: 47

Incumbents
DFL incumbents: 80
Open DFL seats: 7
Republican incumbents: 39
Open Republican seats: 8

Unchallenged seats
No DFL on the ballot: 4
No Republican on the ballot: 0

Analysis
The DFL was able to flirt with a 90-seat veto-proof majority in the State House during the last few election cycles thanks to a large number of competitive races that tilted in their direction during the Democratic waves of 2006 and 2008.

In 2008, the DFL won 18 seats by less than 10 points, including 10 of these that they also won by less than 10 points in 2006. Another four were pick-ups in 2008.

The GOP will not run the table on all of these seats currently held by the DFL in 2010, but Republicans will likely also capture a few other districts that were won by the DFL outside of single digits two Novembers ago.

All told, while history predicts the GOP will gain 19 seats - precisely the current DFL advantage in the House - the fact that Republicans will not have a strong candidate at the top of the ticket in the gubernatorial race commanding a majority of the vote will hurt its chances to rack up this many wins.

Still, gains on par with or likely exceeding the elections of 1984 (11 seats) and 1994 (13 seats) are certainly in the cards. (The 10-seat GOP gains in 2002, though substantial, are less appropriate examples from which to draw as they took place during the first election after new district lines were created).

Projection
Partisan shift: GOP +14
Partisan control: DFL hold

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1 Comment


  • Did I miss the forecast for MN-Governor ?

    Looks like if the assumption is a sizeable pick-up in the MN-House and MN-Senate and a victory for Congresswoman Bachmann and competitive races in the 1st and 8th Districts, should we presume that Tom Emmer should be the next Governor ?

    What areas (or districts) do you see the shift from DFL to MN-GOP ?
    Are there any seats that you project as "Guaranteed" and how many are "Too close to call" ... in other words in the 14 House seats that you see moving, do you also see the potential for more ?

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Small Club in St. Paul

    Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


    Respect Your Elders?

    With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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