The struggle for control of Minnesota’s political setting has begun in earnest and depending on where you reside you are feeling the effects of just how important this election is to both Republicans and Democrats.
Much is at stake and millions of dollars are being spent on statewide and Minnesota House races that will determine the future landscape of Minnesota’s government. Currently, Democrats control the governor’s office and both chambers.
With recent polls showing both Governor Dayton and Senator Al Franken ahead in their respective races, the fight for the Minnesota House is shaping up to be the most intense of the November election. The House consists of 134 seats with the Democrats currently holding a 73-61 majority. That leaves Republicans needing to pick up seven seats in order to take over the House.
Both parties are concentrating their remaining resources around 12-15 seats in rural and suburban Minnesota that will decide the majority party in the House. GOP control of the House would give Republicans a voice in shaping policy and budget directives at the Capitol during the next biennium, something they haven’t had the last two years.
Although both parties can make a case for their paths to November victories, most would acknowledge that Republicans will typically have an advantage as voter turnout is projected to be low as is the case in most midterm elections. Election years like 2014 when there is no Presidential race typically present Minnesota Republicans with their best chances to win elections because of low DFL turnout.
In the last off-year election four years ago, Republicans won control of the Minnesota House and Senate and defeated longtime 8th District Congressman Jim Oberstar. Keeping Democrats engaged will be critical for the DFL to keep control of the House chambers.
National trends could also be a factor in Minnesota races. National conditions and sentiments don’t usually have a lot of impact on local elections but those issues could have effects on some House election results as we’ve seen in past election years. A national tide could certainly prove to be an underlining factor in Republican successes in a few select House districts but it is still a bit too early to determine what effect, if any, national politics will have in the November outcomes.
For MSGA members, this is also the time of the year to get involved in the political and election year processes. Members must visit with their candidates during the fall while candidates are running for election.
These candidates want and need to interact with you. Ask them questions about issues relating to and impacting you both personally and as a producer. Candidates need to hear your issues and concerns and you need to hear their responses in order for you to make an educated decision on Election Day on who you would choose to send to St. Paul.
This is a very important election as it will shape Minnesota public policy for the next several years. Your participation in the process is imperative to ensure MSGA’s continued success at the Capitol.
Cory Bennett, Lobbyist
Minnesota Soybean Growers Association