Election Recap: Republican Victories Bring Change

In recent years, Minnesota has had a tradition of divided government. It usually is because of changing control in either the House of Representatives or a Governor from an opposing party. The House of Representatives has changed party control five times in the last 16 years. Two years after being swept from legislative power by a wave of DFL victories, Republicans picked up wins in a number of key rural races to capture a 72-62 edge in the House, ending two years of one party control of Minnesota’s state government.

The DFL will retain control of the governorship, with Gov. Mark Dayton easily winning re-election to a second term. The Senate, under DFL control, did not stand for election. The Legislature is scheduled to convene Jan. 6, 2015.

Needing seven seats to seize control of the 134-seat House, Republicans picked up 11 — 10 from rural districts, and one from a metro area district. State Canvassing Board members are scheduled to meet Nov. 25 to certify the election results.

New members-elect (unofficial)

  • Dave Hancock (R) District 2A
  • Josh Heintzeman (R) District 10A
  • Dale Lueck (R) District 10B
  • Jason Rarick (R) District 11B
  • Jeff Backer (R) District 12A
  • Jim Knoblach (R) District 14B
  • Tim Miller (R) District 17A
  • Dave Baker (R) District 17B
  • Bob Vogel (R) District 20A
  • Brian Daniels (R) District 24B
  • Nels Pierson (R) District 26B
  • Peggy Bennett (R) District 27A
  • Eric Lucero (R) District 30B
  • Dennis Smith (R) District 34B
  • Abigail Whelan (R) District 35A
  • Jim Nash (R) District 47A
  • Kelly Fenton (R) District 53B
  • Bob Loonan (R) District 55A
  • Drew Christensen (R) District 56A
  • Roz Peterson (R) District 56B
  • Jon Koznick (R) District 58A
  • Jon Applebaum (DFL) District 44B
  • Jennifer Schultz (DFL) District 7A
  • Jack Considine (DFL) District 19B
  • Cheryl Youakim (DFL) District 46B
  • Dave Pinto (DFL) District 64B

 Rep. Kurt Daudt  (R-Crown) is expected to be the next speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Rep. Daudt earned the support of the House Republican caucus at a meeting just a few days after the general election. Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) was named House majority leader-elect. When the Legislature convenes on Jan. 6, the speaker will be elected by the full House.

Also last week, the DFL chose Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) as minority leader-elect for the upcoming biennium. Rep. Thissen is the current House speaker.

The Senate was not up for election, therefore little will change there. It currently has almost a two to one dominance by the DFL. However, much will change in the House as all committees will be changed with new members and new Republican Chairman. It is likely that those assignments will be unveiled during the next month.

 This new majority is dominated by rural representation, something very different from the previous metro dominated majority. It is likely to result in a very different focus.