It looks, as of about 4 a.m., that both houses of the Legislature are going to change hands. The DFL needed to pick up six seats in the House to take control. It got 11. In the Senate, the DFL did even better, picking up what looks to be nine seats, when they needed four.
The party did well in the suburbs and beat some senior Republicans, including Rep. Larry Howes and Sen. Joe Gimse. The DFL swept the head-to-head general election matchups that resulted from redistricting earlier this year.
Among the incumbents beaten Tuesday were, in the House:
Also of note, the DFL and the GOP each failed to contest two races in the House. The GOP left four DFL Senators unchallenged; Scott Dibble and Jeff Hayden, Minneapolis; Chris Eaton, Brooklyn Center and Kathy Sheran, Mankato.
Here's the tale of the tape, or at least as close as we could get at 4 a.m., in the Senate. (Sorry for the tiny type, but you can download larger pdf versions):
And here's the House version:
Posted at 5:23 AM on November 7, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where we are running on sheer adrenaline after a long and surprising election night in Minnesota.
Where to begin....
President Barack Obama has won a second term.
He won Minnesota with 52 percent of the vote, while Mitt Romney got 45 percent of the vote.
Overall, Obama won nationally with 50 percent of the vote, 303 electoral votes.
He swept multiple swing states including Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Obama won by stringing together several narrow victories, the Washington Post reports.
In his victory speech, Obama said there are "better days ahead."
In his concession speech, Romney said, "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion."
Minnesotans voted against an amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman in the state's constitution.
Similar efforts have succeeded in 30 other states. And even though Minnesotans rejected the amendment proposal, same-sex marriage remains illegal here.
Last night, Maine and Maryland voted to legalize same-sex marriage, while we're still waiting for results from Washington state.
Minnesota also rejected a constitutional amendment that would have required voters to show identification at the polls, a proposal that looked poised to pass just a few weeks ago.
After loosing the Legislature two years ago, the DFL has regained control of both the state House and Senate.
Democrats dominated Election Day here.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann won a close race Tuesday over DFL candidate Jim Graves in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District.
The tightness of the contest appeared to catch both campaigns off guard.
Rick Nolan defeated first-term Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack in the 8th Congressional District.
All of Minnesota's other U.S. House incumbents won reelection.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar defeated Rep. Kurt Bills.
All that said....
Things remain unchanged in Washington.
Republicans will struggle to find direction in the wake of last night's presidential and Senate defeats, the New York Times reports.
Though Romney lost yesterday, the last few months have been good for Rep. Paul Ryan.
After losing the Legislature two years ago, the DFL has regained majorities in both houses.
Now, with control over the Legislature and the Governor's office, the question is what the DFL plans to do over the next two years.
Gov. Mark Dayton says he wants to return to his top campaign pledge: to raise taxes on the state's wealthiest.
"I don't know what the legislative majorities will believe, but I do know what I believe," said Dayton at the DFL's election party last night. "And I know what I'll keep working for every day that I have the honor to be governor of this great state: a fairer tax system where the richest Minnesotans pay more of their fair share of taxes."
But whether a tax increase, for instance, is doable is another question. A slate of new DFL lawmakers who ran on promises of moderation and compromise, and a Republican contingent that still oppose DFL priorities could complicate the process.
House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen was reluctant to say whether a tax increase was on the table. Some of the newest members of the Legislature might have a hard time selling the idea to constituents.
"The bottom line is that we're going to have a lot of new members coming into the House and we need to figure out where all those members are, too. It's going to be a very different legislature," he said. "We need to get a structurally balanced budget, but we're certainly not going to choose what all of our options are right now."
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Republicans in the Minnesota House are looking for a new leader now that Speaker Kurt Zellers says he doesn't want the job. Zellers made the announcement one day after Democrats won enough seats to win the House and Senate.
Zellers says a number of factors played into why they lost the House majority. He said heavy spending by Democrats and negative campaigning are two of them. But he downplayed any suggestion that opposition to the two proposed constitutional amendments sunk legislative candidates.
"Minnesotans always go out and vote," Zellers said. That's what we do really well here so whether or not it was a motivational factor for most voters, I think it was right on or pretty darn close to a traditional presidential year in Minnesota."]
On Tuesday, voters defeated a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and an amendment that would require photo identification to vote. Democratic leaders say opposition to the two amendments galvanized the DFL base especially among young and minority voters.
Zellers said Republicans will continue to stick to a no new taxes philosophy and warned a tax increase is likely now that Democrats are in control of the Legislature.
"If you're a business owner in the state of Minnesota, I would get ready for a pretty sizable tax increase," Zellers said.
Republicans will meet this weekend to elect a new Minority Leader. GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean says he's interested in the position.
Posted at 7:30 PM on November 7, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: State Government
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson says he's thinking about running for governor. Johnson, who also serves as Minnesota's Republican National Committeeman, told MPR News today that he's pondering a run.
"I'm thinking about that," Johnson said. "That comes down to a family decision in the next months as to whether we can make it work or not but I do have an interest in that."
Johnson won his second term as Hennepin county commissioner on Tuesday night. He's well connected to Minnesota's business community and has earned high marks from Republicans for being a "Hennepin County Taxpayer Watchdog."
Johnson also is well connected to the Minnesota Legislature (he served in the House from 2001-2007). He also ran statewide in 2006, but lost his bid for state attorney general to Democrat Lori Swanson.
Johnson said he and other Republicans will spend next few weeks trying to figure out why Republicans lost key races in Minnesota. Johnson notes the party's debt and voter turnout efforts, coupled with high DFL voter response in presidential election years were among the factors. He also said the proposed constitutional amendments may have helped Republicans in rural parts of the state but doomed them in the suburbs.
"We have to do an analysis and say, 'Did the benefits of the marriage amendment in Greater Minnesota pick up any seats for us at all?'" Johnson said. "We know that it probably hurt us and probably contributed to a few suburban losses."
Johnson says he's hoping Republicans will learn a bunch of lessons from the 2012 election. He may have an added interest in those fixes if he's at the top of the ticket in 2014.