'Blue Wave' Sweeps Republicans from Minnesota House, Senate
Democrats say the divisive amendments and the state shutdown may have contributed to heavy Republican losses.
After just two years at the helm of the Minnesota Legislature, Republicans lost control of both the House and Senate on Tuesday night—a defeat at least some Democrats are attributing in part to the marriage and Voter ID amendments.
Going into Election Day, Republicans controlled the House 72-61 and the Senate 37-30. While votes in some districts were still being counted early Wednesday, Republicans conceded that they lost both majorities in the early morning hours, according to Twin Cities media reports. The DFL needed to pick up just four seats in the Senate and six seats in the House.
"[Voters] spoke, and they spoke loudly. It was clear they wanted to see a different direction," ousted Eagan Sen. Ted Daley (R) said in an interview with Patch on Wednesday morning. "It wasn’t just a loss for Ted Daley here in Eagan … it was a wave election."
Daley was among the handful of sitting Republican senators and representatives defeated by Democratic challengers across the state. His district, which includes nearly all of Eagan and portions of Burnsville, was identified as a key swing race for control of the legislature.
Democrats swept all three closely-watched House and Senate races in Eagan, but they also picked up Senate District 49 in Edina, where challenger Melissa Franzen beat out Rep. Keith Downey (R). DFLers also took back both of Edina's House seats, with Paul Rosenthal (DFL) narrowly winning against Republican Terry Jacobson in House District 49B and Ron Erhardt defeating Republican Bill Glahn to reclaim his former seat.
In Senate District 57, a GOP-held seat representing portions of Apple Valley and Rosemount, newcomer Greg Clausen (DFL) took roughly 54 percent of the vote.
Democrats also knocked out Republican incumbents in Brooklyn Park, Blaine and Spring Lake Park. In Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, Democrat Yvonne Selcer overturned Republican Kirk Stensrud by 202 votes in a heated race for House Seat 48A.
The weight of a presidential election, the thorny issues presented by the marriage and Voter ID amendments and a state shutdown earlier this summer may have all been contributing factors in the "blue wave" that swept the state, according to newly-elected legislators Jim Carlson and Sandra Masin.
In an interview with the Star Tribune, Lakeville Sen. Dave Thompson (R) characterized it as a "rough night" for the GOP.
Daley said he was also dismayed by the Republican turnover statewide. He added that the political instability of a legislature swinging widely each election is tough on Minnesota business owners, who need some modicum of political consistency.
Daley encouraged the Democrats to keep the focus on jobs and private sector economic growth during the next legislative session.
"We have to come up with ways to provide certainty for business owners so when they’re looking at the long-term plan, they're not getting whip-sawed every two years," Daley said. “That’s really tough on not just business owners and job creators, but on nonprofit organizations, our churches. All of our communities are lurching back and forth, because our policies are going back and forth."