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mn-leg

Political Roundup for February 15, 2017

Election News:  Republican Anne Neu won the Minnesota State House special election for seat 32B last night.  Democratic State Senator Bill Perkins won a vacant City Council seat in Harlem as well.  Now for the rest of the roundup…

President/National

Flyover Country:  In case some of our readers were wondering as they are worrying about President Trump from their homes on the respective flanks of the country, Trump is still popular in middle America.

Obamacare:  As I predicted months ago, the Republicans are running into serious internal issues regarding the repeal of Obamacare.  If a repeal happens at all, you got to wonder if it will take as long as it took the Democrats to pass Obamacare.

DNC:  Tom Perez claims to have enough votes to win the race for DNC Chairman.  A Perez win would continue Obama control of the DNC.

SBA:  Linda McMahon was confirmed as SBA Director.  She received strong support from both parties by today’s standards.

MI-Sen:  With a dearth of interested candidates, Republicans in Michigan are floating the idea of Kid Rock running for US Senate.  Crazy to think that Kid Rock as a candidate is not that far outside the realm of possibility.

States

Women:  The number of women in state legislative seats has reached 25% of the total membership with women controlling state legislative chambers also reaching an all time high.

Voting Laws:  As often seen in life, when your side cannot win on the merits, you challenge the rules.  Democrats are now focusing their political rage on the election rules as a source of their defeat.

International

UK:  Ahead of two key byelections, the Labour Party appears poised to lose two seats and potentially impair Jeremy Corbyn’s “leadership” of the Labour Party.

 

Political Roundup for February 14, 2017

Happy Love Day -er- Valentines Day. First off, there are two Special Elections to preview for today, one legislative and one for the NYC Council. The State House special this week is for MN-LD-32B, an R+8 (2012) seat in deep-red northeast Twin Cities exurbs along the Wisconsin border near Lindstrom. The seat is open after the 2016 election was invalidated, due to the prior incumbent’s residency violations. Anne Neu (R), a veteran MNGOP campaign operative, should be a clear favorite over 2014/2016 nominee and former Duluth city councilwoman Laurie Warner (D), especially as this seat likely moved right in 2016. However, Dems are targeting this race with a surprising amount of enthusiasm, and a surprise upset may be possible.

There is also a NYC Council Special for NYC-CD-9, a 60% BVAP, D+44 (2008) district basically coextensive with Central Harlem. NYC Council specials are in a non-partisan winner-take-all format. There are 9 Democrats and 1 Republican running, six of them serious and three with some chance to win. State Sen. Bill Perkins (D) is the clear front-runner, as he has represented the entire area in the Senate for a decade. However, Perkins has had a mavericky streak at times that has left him on mediocre terms with the Harlem machine. Transit union official Marvin Holland (D) looks like Perkins’s most serious competition. Holland has lapped the field (including Perkins) in fundraising and has strong labor support. However, his name recognition is poor and he has alienated some establishment figures with a very aggressive campaign (including trying to get almost all his rivals disqualified over petition technicalities). If Labor gets out the vote for him, Holland could pull the upset over Perkins’s name rec. The other candidate who could upset Perkins is former civil servant Larry-Scott Blackmon (D). Blackmon has surprisingly attracted a considerable amount of establishment support, including an endorsement from the previous council member, but doesn’t have Holland’s labor backing or Perkins’s name recognition. He also has received unflattering headlines for allegedly getting insiders to pull strings to keep him on the ballot in spite of an illegal party name. Thus, he looks like a long-shot. Two other Dems, Athena Moore (D), a staffer for the Manhattan Borough President, and Community Board member Charles Cooper (D), are both running serious campaigns and have a modicum of establishment backing, but look like very long-shots to come out on top. An interesting candidate who won’t win is social worker and businesswoman Dawn Simmons (R). Simmons is a credible candidate who has actually raised the third-most of the field, and received headlines for being endorsed by “Rent is Too Damn High” perennial candidate Jimmy McMillan (RITDH), but her party label (and thus her lack of Dem establishment support) will prevent her from taking more than a few percent here. The other four candidates, realtor Todd Stevens (D), attorney Pierre Gooding (D), businessman Donald Fields (D), and a Some Dude, seem to be non-serious. Overall this still looks like Perkins’s race to lose, as the establishment and anti-Perkins vote is split among enough candidates with low name rec to mean that Perkins’s name rec and machine should get him to a victory. However, that victory will probably be a low plurality one and Holland or Blackmon could pull the upset.

Now the rest of the day’s news….

President/National:

Natonal Security Adviser: Last Night Mike Flynn resigned as NSA over allegedly lying to Pence about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Retired admiral Robert Harward is apparently the front-runner to take over the job.

Treasury/VA: The Senate confirmed Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin and VA Sec. David Shulkin to their posts last night. Linda McMahon (SBA), Mick Mulvaney (OMB), Scott Pruitt (EPA), Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Ryan Zinke (Interior), Ben Carson (HUD), and Rick Perry (Energy) are all considered likely to go through before the end of the week.

Congress:

MA-Sen: State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) is considering a run against Sen. and cookbook author Elizabeth Warren (D). Diehl is a staunch conservative who represents a deep-red district by Bay State standards, so he’d likely stand little chance, but he does not have the polarizing image of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (R), who has some controversial statements and a failed video game company under his belt. Businessman Rick Green (R), who runs a conservative activist group as well, is also considering a run.

TX-Sen: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) is considering a run for the seat of Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and will decide in the next 8 weeks. Castro joins fellow Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in exploring this contest; Democrats may be feeling emboldened to take on Cruz after Hillary did better than expected in the Lone Star State, but the state’s huge size and inelastic nature presents a high hurdle.

GA-6: 8 candidates filed for HHS Secretary Tom Price’s (R) vacated congressional seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Four candidates are notable, State Sen. Judson Hill (R), ex-State Sens. Dan Moody (R) and Ron Slotin (D), and former congressional staffer Jon Osoff (D), who has had strong fundraising. Several others are expected to enter as well.

SC-5: Ex-SCGOP chair Chad Connelly (R) will run for the seat of OMB-director designate Mick Mulvaney (R); Connelly joins about a half-dozen other Republicans in the race for the deep-red seat. Connelly’s establishment ties could make him a credible contender and he looks likely to join State Reps. Tommy Pope (R) and Ralph Norman (R) in the first tier of contenders for this seat.

Governor, State & Local:

MA-Gov: 1994 LG nominee Bob Massie (D), a bold progressive netroots favorite, is considering a run against Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) and Gov. Deval Patrick admin official Jay Gonzales (D) have also been exploring bids here.

NJ-Gov: Former Saturday Night Live star Joe Piscopo (R) is doing “due dilligence” on a run for Governor of New Jersey, the clearest indication that the comedian is serious about exploring a bid. Piscopo would join LG Kim Guandagno (R) and State Rep. Jack Ciattarelli (R), along with some minor candidates, in the race for the nomination to succeed toxic Gov. Chris Christie (R). Former ambassador Jon Corzine Jr. Phil Murphy (D) is considered the likely Dem nominee and the favorite over any GOP contender.

MI-SoS: 2010 nominee and law school dean Jocelyn Benson (D) is considering a second bid for SoS in 2018. Benson would likely be the front-runner for the Dem nod if she ran, as her 2010 campaign was well-regarded by party insiders. State Sen. Mike Kowall (R) and State Rep. Lee Chatfield (R) are considering runs on the GOP side for the seat of termed-out incumbent Ruth Johnson (R).

PA-LG: Ex-State Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R) of Lancaster County is the first candidate to consider a run for LG. Pennsylvania uses the “shotgun wedding” system in which LGs and Governors run separately in the primaries but together in the general, which can create some chaotic LG races in which candidates have no idea who their running mates will be.

St. Petersburg-Mayor: Ex-St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker (R) has flirted with bids for multiple offices over the last couple years, including runs for FL-13, Florida Governor, and Attorney General, but now it looks like he may run for his old job, taking on incumbent St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) in this year’s election. Baker, who is well-regarded, would almost certainly be the GOP’s strongest candidate for the mayoral post.

Political Roundup for November 8, 2016

Happy Election Day! We will have a recap of poll closing times at 1PM today and our liveblog will start at 6. This will be a short roundup today as most of the “news” coming while polls are open is purely hearsay and conjecture.

President/National:

New Hampshire: Trump won the three tiny NH towns that vote at midnight, Dixville Notch, Harts Location, and Millsfield, 32-25.

RIP: Bill Clinton AG Janet Reno (D), who ran for FL-Gov in 2002 and lost the primary, has passed away.

State & Local:

NY-SD-20: State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D) of Brooklyn is defecting from the mainline Dems to the IDC, giving Jeff Klein 7 Senators in the upcoming session. Hamilton’s defection could give Klein more leverage in the possible (likely?) event that the IDC becomes the majority-defining swing bloc in the Senate after the election. Importantly, the IDC now has a Black and a Hispanic member, which could give them additional leverage with Dems in the NYS Legislature’s hyper-identity-politics- focused culture.

Minnesota: Please take a look at OGGoldy’s excellent final coverage of the MN Legislative elections today.

If you are planning to vote today our state by state guide to writing-in a Presidential candidate is HERE, our Resources Page with state by state election guide is HERE and our must read comprehensive preview to all the major races up and down the ballot is HERE

Minnesota Legislature: Final Predictions

Final projections for the Minnesota legislature. Summer race ratings in parentheses

 

Districts 1-28 are considered “Outstate” Minnesota, and are outside of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area

I have gotten all the way through to the Minneapolis and St. Paul districts in my prediction diary. I’ll likely finish it tomorrow or Friday and post it then.

 

Teaser:

I predict a 39-28 D controlled Senate, and a 67-66 R controlled House, with 1 guaranteed vacancy. The tipping point seats for control are HD48A and SD44.

Percentages are the odds the favored candidate will win:
Tilt D/R: 50.1%-60%
Lean D/R: 60.1-75%
Likely D/R: 75.1-99%
Safe D/R: <99%

 

District 1: Northwest Minnesota. This used to be a Democratic district, but has shifted right in recent cycles. In 2008 both house seats were held by the DFL and in 2010 they were won by Republicans. The senate seat has been held by Leroy Stumpf (D) since before I was born, but with his 2016 retirement, the seat is possibly to be lost to Republicans this cycle. Following primaries in both seats, Republicans settled on Theif River Falls city councilman Mark Johnson, and Democrats settled on Kip Fontaine, the head public defender for Pennington County. This race has been one of the most positive races I can think of. The candidates are friends, and the families attend the same church. Fontaine has actually outraised Johnson fairly substantially. Johnson is still the favorite, but I move it to Lean R, based on the fact both candidates are well liked, and Fontaine has the cash advantage. District 1A has 3rd term incumbent Dan Fabian was first elected in 2010, and has entrenched himself already. He was not seriously challenged in 2012 or 2014, and is facing token opposition in DFLer George Nyakasi Bass. Fabian looks a lock to return to St. Paul for another 2 years. The Roseau area is fully owned by Polaris, and is certainly the more Republican of the two House districts, with Fabian having quite the rapport with aforementioned vehicle manufacturer. Over in 1B, Deb Kiel has not given off quite as good of an impression locally as Fabian has, and 1B is a lot less Republican friendly than 1A. 1B is centered around Theif River Falls, and is essentially a wholely owned subsidiary of Arctic Cat (Yes, both major American snowmobile/ATV manufacturer’s are in the same Senate district in the middle-of-nowhere-Minnesota). Early rumors were that Keil would be challenged hard in November, but the race never really materialized with nursing home manager Mike Moore not gaining as much traction as would be required.

Senate
Lean R (Likely R)

House A
Romney (R) 54-43
McFadden (R) 49-47
Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 52-46
Franken (D) 49-45
Likely R (Lean R)

 

District 2: The senate seat has been held by Rod Skoe since the 1998 election, and is running for reelection again. Skoe faces a decent challenger in appointed Park Rapids city councilman Paul Utke. Utke also serves as the Hubbard County GOP Chairman. Skoe will likely hold his seat this cycle, but is not a shoo-in following his 55% against another serious challenger in 2012. Skoe has vastly outspent Utke, and outside spending has favorite Skoe as well. Utke appears to be among the biggest disappointments for Republican challengers this term. District 2A is essentially the half of the Bemidji area that is in MN-7, the Red Lake Indian Reservation, and Lake of the Woods. This seat has changed hands multiple times in the last few cycles, with Democrat Roger Erickson alternating winning in 08, and 12, with Republican David Hancock winning in 10 and 14. Hancock is choosing to not run for reelection 0 2016, leaving the seat open. Oddly, Erickson lost the DFL endorsement this year to navy veteran Jerry Loud. Democrats have completely triaged Loud because it turns out he is a wife beating drunk. Let this be a lesson to Democrats who advocate for voting for candidates because of their race. Erickson would probably be a Likely pick up, while Loud is a sure loss. Directly to the south of 2A is the more GOP friendly 2B with Park Rapids at its core. Republican Steve Green won this redrawn seat in 2012 and has held it since. Green will be facing DFL farmer Bryan Klabunde. Klabunde is not going to be more than a speed bump to Green.

Senate
Likely D (Likely D)

House A
Romney (R) 50-48
Franken (D) 49-47

Safe R (Tilt R)

House B
Romney (R) 56-42
McFadden (R) 50-44

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 3: Welcome to the northern side of the Iron Range and the BWCA: Home to Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Bakk, along with long-term incumbent Mary Murphy and 2015 Special election winner Rock Ecklund (Both DFL) should win by their customary landslides against token opposition all.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 55-42
Franken (D) 59-37

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 60-38
Franken (D) 61-36

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 4: This is essentially Moorhead and surrounding area. Senator Kent Eken (D) is running for reelection to the senate after previously serving in the House. Republicans nominated recent (~18 months ago) transplant to the state James Lieman, an army veteran with no ties to the state, let alone this corner of outstate Minnesota prior to 2014. Eken should cruise to reelection, and is banking his fundraising for 2020 already. The city of Moorhead more or less makes up the 4A half of the district, and is represented by Ben Lien, who succeeded Eken in this district 4 years ago. Lien is running for his 3rd term against 20-year-old college student Republican Jordan Idso. Idso filed on the last day to do so, and has been unreachable by the media in the subsequent weeks. All signs point to the fact he won’t be running much, or any campaign. Eken can rest easy. In the more Republican (rural areas around Moorhead) 4B Paul Marquart (DFL) looks to lock in his 9th term in the House (He won by a margin of 25 points in Republican wave of 2010, and by 30 in the redrawn district in 2012, and 32 points later in 2014. Republicans are running a seemingly serious candidate against Marquart with Becker County Commissioner Ben Grimsley. Outside GOP money has poured into this seat, while Dem donors have largely trust Marquardt to manage his own reelection. This sounds all well and good for the GOP, except this is the same Ben Grimsely that lost by 25 to Marquart in 2010. Marquart is a famously tireless campaigner, and is one of the most personable politicians you’ll ever meet. Marquart is at the top of the list when it comes to strongest DFLers to run to succeed Peterson when Peterson hangs it up. Expect another major win for Marquart, even if it isn’t by 25-30 points.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 55-42
Franken (D) 59-37

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Romney (R) 51-47
Franken (D) 52-43

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 5: The amalgam district: 5B is the western influences of the Iron Range, and 5A is decisively not. I hold this district near and dear to my heart, as I have a lot of family and friends here. This district is one of the 3 or 4 I know better than any political subdivision anywhere, and it stretches from Bemidji on the west, and Grand Rapids and western Itasca County in the east. Alright, that’s enough about me and my sentiment for this district. This is turf that Trump folks feel they can make headway, as it is a very old blue collar white electorate here in an area that has seen economic downturn in recent decades. In the 2012 redistricting, this district had all sorts of people watching, as 6 incumbents were mashed up into the district, 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats, so the senate race, and both house races saw incumbent vs. incumbent showdowns. Democrats swept the races in the end, with ease that surprised even me. Those Democrats all won reelection 2 years later in 2014 and are all up for reelection again this year. State Senator Tom Saxhaug (D) has represented the Grand Rapids area since his first election in 2002. Saxhaug is facing losing 2014 5B GOP candidate Justin Eichorn. Eichorn lost to Anzelc 57-43 last cycle. Saxhaug appears to be pretty well positioned, as Eichorn’s campaign hasn’t really gotten off the ground, nor has it garnered any outside interest. In 5A incumbent DFL Representative John Persell faces resort owner Matt Bliss. After Persell won an uphill battle in his incumbent-vs.-incumbent battle in 2012, I won’t be betting against him anytime soon.  In 5B we reenter the Iron Range from the west, home of 4-term incumbent Tom Anzelc, who is running for reelection in his Grand Rapids area district, plus a portion of blood-red Cass County. Republicans are gunning for this seat after recruiting former Pawlenty era IRRRB Chair (a cabinet level department in the state) Sandy Layman. Republicans and Democrats see this as ground zero for outstate House seats that Republicans could potentially pick up to mitigate almost certain losses in the suburbs. The other quirk here is that this is the only legislative race in the entire state to have a Green Party candidate on the ballot, which could hurt Anzelc in a razor thin race if it comes down to that. My money is on this being the closest outstate legislative race this year.

Senate
Likely D (Likely D)

House A
Obama (D) 51-46
Franken (D) 52-43

Likely D (Likely D)

House B
Obama (D) 49-48
Franken (D) 53-43

Tilt R (Lean D)

 

District 6: Heart of the Iron Range:  heavily DFL turf. Incumbent State Senator David Tomassoni is running for reelection and should have an easy go of it against 31-year-old Army Reservist Skeeter Tomczak (real name). I’ve never met Tomczak, but I know quite a few people that do, as he and I are the same age, graduating the same year. Tomczak has a reputation of being a bit of a Dudley Do-Right, which apparently has followed him from childhood to his military career. I just don’t see Tomassoni being at risk in a D+12 district that is ancestrally More Democratic downballot. In 5A 31-year old incumbent DFL Representative Carly Melin (yet another 2003 Iron Range graduate) is not seeking reelection in 6A for personal reasons. The race to succeed Melin was an absolute mess in the primary. 4 DFL candidates rant in the August primary after no one got the 60% required at the convention to get the endorsement. Teacher Julie Sandstede ultimately prevailed as the only woman and the only pro-life Democrat in the race, with a whopping 35.6% of the vote. I don’t think this fight is over yet, as I expect at least Ben DeNucci to want a rematch in 2018. Sandstede faces fellow teacher Rob Farnsworth (R) in November, where she will surely win. Over in 6B, Melin’s former campaign manager, and current Representative in his own right Jason Metsa is seeking reelection in his own seat against perennial candidate Matt Matasich. He has previously been seen losing to Metsa 65-35 in 2014, and losing to Senator Dave Tomassoni in 2010 70-30. Safe D regardless, but good for Matasich for not letting the seats go perpetually unopposed, I guess.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 63-34
Franken (D) 65-31

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 62-36
Franken (D) 61-34

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 7: Duluth. Duluth is a mini-San Francisco on the shore of Lake Superior, as well as the hub and port of the Iron Range. State Senator Roger Reinert is stepping down after just 6 years in office, and State Representative Erik Simonson is stepping in to fill the seat in his stead. Simonson faces retired Lt Colonel USMC Donna Bergman, who was unopposed as the Republican nominee. Simonson will win handily. In 7A we have an interesting story with Republican candidate Dylan Raddant. Raddant works in retail, and is a transgender woman. To my knowledge Raddant is the first transgender candidate in Minnesota history, and almost certainly the first Republican transgender candidate. This won’t matter in November as incumbent DFL Representative Jennifer Schultz will win in a landslide in this deep blue district. In 7B, Democrats nominated liberal activist Liz Olson for the seat. On the Republican side pilot Cody Barringer is running. Olson is effectively Representative-elect at this point.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 67-30
Franken (D) 69-28

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 70-28
Franken (D) 70-27

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 8: This is blood red farm territory in NW Minnesota, so much so that Amy Klobuchar lost this district in 2006. That really does sum up the political leanings of Ottertail and Douglas Counties. State Senator Bill Ingerbritsen will handily beat archaeologist Shawn Olson. In 8A, long time GOP Representative Bud Nornes is assured a spot back in St. Paul again for a an 11th term against restaurateur CJ Holl. This entire area should be safely Republican; however, district 8B is the home of one Mary Franson. Franson is a famously loud candidate that nearly lost her district, which is one of the most heavily Republican in the entire state in 2012. After a recount, she ended up winning by 12 votes against high school football coach Bob Cunniff. She did a little better in 2014 with the Red Wave, but she is inherently a weak candidate. She is facing social worker Gail Kulp, but her opponent is relatively unimportant. Any other Republican would be safe in this district, but it’s on the radar due to the unique weakness Franson has as a candidate.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 59-39
McFadden (R) 53-42

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 58-40
McFadden (R) 52-44

Likely R (Likely R)

 

District 9: This is an agricultural and summer cabin district north of St. Cloud and west of Brainerd that was not-so-long-ago competitive for Democrats, but I think those days are now behind us now. Incumbent GOP Senator Paul Gazelka looks secure against a Some Dude Democratic challenger, Jason Weinerman.  Sophomore GOP Representative Mark Anderson is retiring because he doesn’t like politics. Stepping in to fill Anderson’s spot in St. Paul is Lake Shore mayor John Poston (R). The field was cleared immediately for him, and he should be easily elected in November against county DFL Chair and charter school principal Megg Litts. In 9B, sophomore incumbent Republican Ron Kresha will easily win against University of Minnesota (120 miles away from the district) student Dustin Simmonds in November.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 60-37
McFadden (R) 54-41

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 60-37
McFadden (R) 51-44

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 10: This north central Minnesota seat has seen a lot of action politically for being such a sleepy area culturally. In 2012 there was a costly Senate election and House election in 10B, and in 2014 there were two costly House elections. Republicans scored 2 major victories with the help of the red wave in 2014. Now those freshman incumbents are up for reelection. Senator Carrie Ruud (R) is known as a socially conservative firebrand, and is up for reelection after winning her seat in 2012. Local DFLers worked hard to pressure former Rep Joe Ward into this race, or to run for his old seat, but he declined both positions in favor of staying retired. Ruud didn’t get a terribly strong challenger, but she will be running against accountant Tiffant Stenglein. Rudd appears to be a prohibitive favorite with Democrats going on a metro-focused election. 10A, which consists mostly of Brainerd with some of western Crow Wing County in there as well, is the more Republican of the two districts. Freshman GOP Rep. Josh Heintzman was the man that beat Joe Ward last cycle, and is running for reelection for the first time in 2016. Unlike the recruiting failure in SD-10, the recruitment in 10A got the second best option behind a Ward rematch by getting Baxter City Councilman Quinn Nystrom. Nystrom is considered a quickly rising star in DFL circles, having won election to the at-large city council of strongly Republican Baxter Minnesota against a strong headwind at only 28 years old. Now at age 30 she is considered one of the foremost advocates against human trafficking, as well as diabetes research in the state. I am personally bullish on her chances, but I’ve had many people saying not to sleep on her this cycle. This race has not garnered much media attention, which is strange as Nystrom has outraised Heintzman 2:1, and there hasn’t been outside spending to prop him up. Heintzman is probably favored due to the lean of the seat, but this could easily be a sleeper race on Tuesday. In 2014 Republicans were able to unseat another then-rising-star in 10B: Joe Radinovich. Dale Lueck won the hotly contested Aitkin County based seat 52-48, and is now running for reelection. Lueck didn’t draw a strong challenger, and a race never materialized here, even though it’s to the left of 10A.

Senate
Safe R (Likely R)

House A
Romney (R) 55-43
McFadden (R) 52-44

Lean R (Lean R)

House B
Romney (R) 53-44
Franken (D) 48.3-47.6

Likely R (Lean R)

 

District 11: This district is based south of Duluth. The northern part of the district has a decidedly Iron Range flavor, and the southern portion is North Woods, but no Iron Range (picture the Venn diagram). The DFL is absolutely dominant in Carlton County to the north, and has a fair presence in the southern part of this district as well. DFL incumbent Senator Toney Lourey is running for reelection to his district, which his mother held before him. Lourey is facing Republican Mike Cummins. Cummins was last seen losing this seat to Lourey in 2010 55-45, and before that in 2008 losing to Jim Oberstar in MN-8 68-32. Lourey has outraised Cummins nearly 30:1, and Cummins’ complete lack of a campaign pushes this outstate district to Safe D In 11A, DFL incumbent Mike Sundin (DFL) will easily win a 3rd term against Some Dude Republican Mike Line. In 11B, incumbent GOP freshman Jason Rarick is running in this swingy rural district against Kanebec County Planning Commissioner Tom Jones (DFL). Jones has outraised the incumbent Rarick, and outside money has largely been absent. It could be a potential sleeper race, but most of the media outlets have it off the board. I’ll keep it at lean R, as weird things can happen in such parochial districts.

Senate
Safe D (Likely D)

House A
Obama (D) 62-36
Franken (D) 62-33

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Romney (R) 51-47
Franken (D) 50-45

Lean R (Tilt R)

 

District 12: This is old school Farmer Labor country, specifically from the Farmer faction. This is Peterson country, with sugar beets, corn, and soybeans as far as the eyes can see. This is one area that the DFL prospects dim as time goes on. Politics isn’t a zero sum game, but as the DFL gains in some of the suburbs, the “F” faction of the DFL is dying off. This is also home of Senator Torrey Westrom, who unsuccessfully challenged Collin Peterson for the MN-7 seat in 2014. Westrom is up for reelection this cycle, and is a prohibitive favorite against local teacher Russ Hinrich. Westrom’s personal popularity and compelling personal story puts this reddening former DFL stronghold seat out of reach for Team Blue. In 12A, Representative Jay McNamar (DFL) lost his seat by 700 votes against now-freshman GOP Representative Jeff Backer, and the district hasn’t gotten bluer in the last few years.  McNamar is running for his old seat, and is a solid recruit for Democrats. But with the trending of this seat, I think it’ll be bit too much for McNamar to make a return trip to St. Paul. Major GOP money has been sent west to prop up Backer, while Democrats have pitched in some, but this is one of the few competitive districts the GOP had outside spending advantage. 12B is substantially more Republican than 12A, and incumbent Paul Anderson (R) hasn’t drawn any challenger at all, and is unopposed in November.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 52-46
Franken (D) 51-44

Likely R (Lean R)

House B
Romney (R) 62-36
McFadden (R) 53-42

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 13: This is more farm county surrounding St. Cloud, and is generally quite Republican, but has gone to the right Democrats now and then, such as former State Representative Larry Hosch. I don’t see another Hosch in this cycle. 20-year incumbent State Senator Michelle Fischbach will steamroll Some Dude Mike Willemsen in her reelection bid. Sophomore representative Republican Jeff Howe should win 13A again comfortably against Anne Buckvold, the winner of the August DFL primary. Next door in 13B, Republican incumbent Tim O’Driscoll did not get a challenger in 2014, but drew a Some Dude level challenger in Matt Crouse.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 57-41
McFadden (R) 50-45

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 57-41
McFadden (R) 52-44

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 14: This district is a dot of purple in a sea of red, consisting of St. Cloud and the immediate surrounding area. The district used to be represented by DFL Senator Terryl Clark, who most famously ran against Michelle Bachman in 2010 (she lost the general), and then immediately changed districts to run against Chip Cravaack 2 yearas later (she lost the primary). After Clark left the seat, it has been represented by Republican incumbent John Pederson. Pederson is choosing not to run for reelection after 6 years in St. Paul, leaving this swing seat open once again. Republicans nominated retired attorney Jerry Relph without need for a primary. Democrats nominated their 2014 candidate for 14A, which is the slightly more Republican currently but ancestrally even more Republican half of the district, Dan Wolgamott This has proved to be a highly expensive race, with both candidates raising 50 grand, and hundreds of thousands of dollars coming in from outside, favoring Walgomat nearly 2:1. The race has been tinged with racial and sectarian politics involving the growing Muslim population in St. Cloud. I keep this race as a Tilt D pick up because of the lean/trend of the district, as well as presidential turnout from the plethora of university students present. In 14A, Wolgomott’s 2014 opponent incumbent Tama Theis (R) is running for reelection against college professor Aric Putnam. This race wasn’t on many radars this summer, but Democrats have smelled blood in the water. Outside Dem groups have outspent GOP groups 3:2, and fundraising between the candidates is on parity, and Theis’ campaign is running on fumes, having just 400 dollars in the bank as of 11/1. I’ve moved this race to Tilt R, because I can’t in good conscience move a R-held outstate Romney seat to Tilt D, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see this flip. District 14B has seen perhaps the wildest swings of any House district in the state. This is largely due to the fact that St. Cloud State University, with its 15,000 students, makes up a large portion of this district, and they tend to have precipitous dropoff in off-year elections. In 2012 DFL candidate Zach Horholt unseated a long-tenured incumbent Republican that was not considered on the hot seat by an eye-popping 13 point margins. 2 years later, former State Representative Jim Knoblach came out of retirement and edged Dorholt by 69 votes. I was a little surprised that Knoblach didn’t jump into the senate race, as it would have been in more favorable turf than running for reelection in a rematch. Huge money has poured into both camps at a fast clip, with the incumbent having a slight edge in the cash game. Dem insiders feel good about Dorholt, but I haven’t written off Knoblach with another razor close finish based on long standing name rec. With University turnout, and not facing the immense Red Wave, I expect Dorholt to win the rematch by a fraction of a point.

Senate
Tilt D (Tilt D)

House A
Romney (R) 50-48
Fanken (D) 50-46

Tilt R (Lean R)

House B
Obama (D) 53-43
Franken (D) 54-41

Tilt D (Lean D)

 

District 15: This is a fairly Republican area east of St. Cloud, with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe reservation in 15A. In the senate race, 6-year incumbent GOP Senator Dave Brown is choosing to retire instead of standing for reelection this year. At the convention, the local GOP gave 28-year-old Tom Emmer staffer Andrew Mathews to fill Brown’s seat after winning the August primary. The Democrats also had a primary for this open seat, the DFL-endorsed candidate legislative Staffer and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe member Chilah won his primary as well. In November, Mathews will win handily, as this race has not developed into anything of note. Incumbent 15A GOP representative Sondra Erickson drew only a token Democrat in teacher Kent Lestrud. In the more conservative 15B, sophomore GOP incumbent Jim Newberger looks to an easy reelection campaign against DFL farmer Karla Scapanski.

Senate
Safe R (Likely R)

House A
Romney (R) 55-42
McFadden (R) 50-45

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 63-35
McFadden (R) 57-38

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 16: This is basically a southern bank Minnesota River Valley district. All Republican incumbents are running for reelection, and shouldn’t have much difficulty. Senator Gary Dahms is facing twice-vanquished 16B Dem nominee James Kanne. 16A is not as ancestrally DFL as the northern bank of the Minnesota. 16A is represented by 3rd term Republican Chris Swedzinski, who is not in danger of losing in 2016. Representative Swedzinski faces another two-time-loser in November: Al Kruse. Downstream from 16A on the Minnesota River lies the more Republican 16B. Paul Torkelson (R) lives here, and has represented the area since being first elected in 2008. He faces DFL newcomer Austin Grossenberg, but the general election is a formality, as Torkelson will win handily.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 52-45
Franekn (D) 49-47

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 57-40
McFadden (R) 50-45

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 17: We cross the river to the north side of the Minnesota River here. This is substantially more DFL leaning than the southern bank, even if not fully reflected in presidential PVI. I had my questions about the senate race in 2012, but Lyle Koenen won the incumbent vs. incumbent matchup with GOP senator Joe Gimse fairly handily, so the old loyalties aren’t dead here yet, even with the clean sweep the GOP pulled off here in 2014. Koenen is running for a 2nd senate term against Republican Andrew Lang, the Renville County Parks Supervisor. Outside money has flowed into this race, with Koenen getting more outside help than Lang. Koenen has also outraised Lang in direct funds, and both candidates have drained their coffers in this highly contentious contest. I give Koenen the edge based on incumbency, cash advantage, and name recognition, but I moved it to a slightly more competitive ranking of Lean D. As far as the 2016 House races go, 33 year-old former 3-term Rep. Andrew Falk (DFL) is running for his old seat against freshman GOP Representative Tim Miller. This will be the rubber match between Falk and Miller following Falk’s victory over Miller in 2012, and Miller’s win in 2014. Falk made a major error last cycle by sitting on a massive warchest as the signs of a Republican wave, and was caught flat-footed in the process. It may not have been enough to hang on in such a hostile climate, but it would have kept Miller from an embarrassing 10-point loss. Like 2014, the same fundraising pattern remains, with Falk outraising Miller, but sitting on a much bigger COH leading up to the GE. I give the advantage of incumbency here, as the territory is more Republican every year, but this will be a tightly contested race. In 17B former DFL Representative, Mary Sawatzky is also running for a rematch against the man that unseated her last cycle. Sawatzky won a narrow plurality election against incumbent GOP representative Bruce Vogel in 2012 before her 206 vote loss to now-Representative Dave Baker last cycle. This is another seat that has been highly contested all the way to November. Baker has personal wealth, but both parties are investing resources dollar for dollar here in this dlose race. I shy away from Toss-up rankings, as I find them cowardly, but I give the smallest edge to Baker solely based on incumbency.

Senate
Lean D (Likely D)

House A
Romney (R) 51-47
Franken (D) 51-44

Lean R (Lean R)

House B
Romney (R) 51-47
Franken (D) 50-46

Tilt R (Tilt R)

 

District 18: This is where the exurbs meet the cornfields. This is prime Republican territory. All 3 Republican incumbents are running for reelection, and will win easily. 2-term incumbent Senator Scott Newman faces a respectable candidate in Meeker County Commissioner Amy Wilde (D). Wilde is a good recruit for Team Blue, and she will do as well as any Democrat could there, but that will still end up in a decisive loss. In 18A, long-term  incumbent Dean Urdahl (R) is running for his 8th term, and is a 100% lock for it, as he has no opponent. In 18B, incumbent Republican representative Glen Gruenhagen faces a former 1-term DFL Representative (Circa 1992) Darrel Mosel. In spite of having served nearly 25 years ago, Mosel is only 60. This area is just not as Democratic as it was in the early 1990s, and it was pretty Republican even then.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 58-40
McFadden (R) 51-43

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 60-37
McFadden (R) 52-42

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 19: This is essentially Mankato and Nicollet County in south-central Minnesota, and is pretty blue turf. Incumbent Senator Kathy Sheran (D) is not seeking reelection after a decade in office. The DFL establishment quickly rallied behind Mankato laywer Nick Frentz in this Democratic leaning seat. Republicans are running realtor and horse breeder Willa Dailey in an attempt to wrest the seat away from Democrats. Neither Frentz nor Dailey have run for office before, but at 55% Obama, and Ferenz blowing the doors off of Dailey in fundraising 3:1, I’ve moved this race to Safe D, and apparently the GOP establishment has as well, as they’ve not invested anything of note here. Incumbent 19A Representative Clark Johnson (D) is running for reelection against his 2014 opponent Kim Spears. Johnson defeated Spears by 8 last cycle in the face of a massive GOP wave. This race never materialized in spite of it being a single-digit win for a Democrat in outstate Minnesota. In 19B, which is effectively Mankato proper, freshman incumbent DFLer Jack Considine, a former Mankato city councilman, is running for a 2nd term. He will be facing recent Mankato transplant Adam Isakson, a 27-year old National Guard officer. It’s never been anything but Safe for Considine, as evidenced by his opponent’s entire campaign costing him $911 YTD.

Senate
Safe D (Likely D)

House A
Obama (D) 52-45
Franken (D) 55-40

Safe D (Likely D)

House B
Obama (D) 57-40
Franken (D) 58-37

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 20. The northern portion of this district is some far flung exurbs(A), and the southern part (B) is actually DFL leaning farmland and the liberal college town of Northfield, former home of Senator Paul Wellstone. Incumbent DFL Senator Kevin Dahle is running for reelection this cycle against GOP realtor Rich Draheim. Dahle won elections in this seat in a 2008 special election and again in 2012, while he lost it in 2010. Democrats have dumped a bunch of money here, and Republicans have matched about 40% of that total as well. This will be a close race, but I give the edge to Dahle against his politically inexperienced opponent in this swingy south-central Minnesota seat based on fundraising and incumbency. Freshman GOP incumbent Bob Vogel is in his first reelection campaign in 2016. He is a long time bank executive, and presumably has plenty of money to throw around here. He has not needed to self fund in this 58-40 Romney district however. Vogel will run against and beat DFL Some Dude Jim Connelly. In 20B, David Bly (DFL) has settled into his 2012 redrawn blue district, after serving 2 terms in a purpler district previously. Bly, a former teacher, will face Republican firefighter Aramis Wells. Wells has never run for political office before, and does not seem to be a threat to Bly in the least.

Senate
Lean D (Tilt D)

House A
Romney (R) 58-40
McFadden (R) 54-42

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Obama (D) 54-44
Franken (D) 57-39

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 21: This is very marginal territory overall that essentially covers the SE corner of MN-2 along the Mississippi river. I was actually kind of surprised when Obama came within 3 points of Romney, as I figured this would be a 55/45 R area, as it had been previously. Either way, it has gotten bluer, though at a slower pace than the rest of MN-2, and is pretty swingy now. Freshman incumbent DFL Senator Matt Schmit faces a strong Republican challenger in nuclear powerplant engineer Mike Goggin. Big outside money has come into this district, with the cash advantage to Blue Team, and Schmit outraising Groggin by a fair sum. I keep it at Lean D, but will be watching it election night. Moderate Rep Tim Kelly (R-21A) is retiring after 8 years from his 51% Obama seat and both parties are gunning for it hard. Democrats have settled on Harvard-educated lawyer and 8-year incumbent Redwing city councilwoman Lisa Bayley. Republicans have lined up behind businesswoman Barb Haley. This has garnered a lot of outside fundraising, with the edge going to GOP interests attempting to keep the purple seat with a much more conservative candidate than the incumbent. The Democrat however has outraised her in campaign funds. I give the edge to Bayley based on political experience, but this one will be close. In the more Republican 21B, incumbent Steve Drazkowski (R) is running for his 5th full term, after winning a special election victory for his seat upon the resignation of Steve Sviggum (R) in early 2007. Drazkowski has drawn 26-year-old DFL staffer Elise Diesslin as a challenger. The incumbent will romp handily.

Senate
Lean D (Lean D)

House A
Obama (D) 51-47
Franken (D) 51-44

Tilt D (Tilt D)

House B
Romney (R) 54-44
McFadden (R) 50-44

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 22: This is the southwest corner of the state, and full of corn fields. Once able to be won by Democrats, the area is now very Republican, and contains the only 2 counties in the entire state Amy Klouchar lost in 2012: Rock and Pipestone. Freshman GOP Senator Bill Weber doesn’t have much to fear against his Some Dude opponent, Brian Abrahamson. 28 year-old Joe Schomacker (R-22A) first won this seat 6 months getting his MPA from George Washington University at age 24 in 2010. Now age 30, he drew another Some Dude(tte) challenger in Laura Woods this year, but that’s just a formality, as he will win 60-40. Next door in 22B, Rod Hamilton, first elected in 2004, is equally assured of a 7th term against his own Some Dude DFL challenger Kirby Kruse.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 56-41
McFadden (R) 51-51

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 54-44
McFadden (R) 48-45

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 23: This is the south-central Minnesota district along the Iowa border. The Senate district has 14 year incumbent GOP Senator Julie Rosen against Barbara the winner of the DFL primary in August. Rosen will defeat her, handily. 23A will again reelect Bob Gunther (R) to another term in St. Paul, this time against Nurse Pat Bacon. Gunther has not been challenged seriously in over 20 years, and is not in any danger this round either against Some Dude DFLer Zac Huntley. Gun advocate representative Tony Cornish (R-23B) did not have an opponent in either 2012 or 2014, but he garnered a serious candidate in St. James city councilman John Haseman. Haseman was always a large underdog, but some thought Cornish may get caught flat footed in this seat that Franken won by 5 last cycle, particularly with his “thug” snafu during the summer but the race never caught much attention.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 59-39
McFadden (R) 52-43

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 50-47
Franken (D) 50-45

Likely R (Likely R)

 

District 24: This is a locally swingy area around Owatana in southern Minnesota that is more Republican upballot. Unlike a lot of other farm areas, this one isn’t really moving right, as Owatana has long been a Republican bastion. It has actually started to move left downballot while the top of the ticket has stayed marginally Republican, making it quite unique in terms of political trends. DFLer Vicki Jensen won the open senate seat in 2012 when Paulite Senator Mike Perry chose to take a shot at Walz in MN-1, losing the nomination to Quist. In November, Jensen will face John Jasinski, the mayor of Fairbault Minnesota, the second largest city in the district. This 51% Romney district has been highly contested race, with outside Dem money outpacing Republican money nearly 3:1, yet Jasinski edging out Jensen in terms of campaign expenditures. I give the edge to Jensen based on incumbency and total dollars spent in the race.  In the more Republican 24A, sophomore GOP representative John Petersburg is running for a third term, and will face his 2014 opponent Bev Cashman. Cashman managed to put together a respectable 10 point defeat in spite of 2014’s bloodbath of Democrats in outstate Minnesota. I don’t think she wins this cycle, but I expect a single-digit race, which keeps the rating out of Safe R territory. In 24B we have another rematch, this time between former State Rep  Patti Fritz (D) and the man who unseated her by 221 votes in 2014, incumbent State Rep Brian Daniels (R). Daniels is the brother of 29A State Representative Marion O’Niell. This has been another tightly contested race with lots of outside money and staffers, with the slight edge on that front on the D side. Democrats see this as a must-win to retake the Chamber, and Republicans see this as a line in the sand to keep a seat at the table in St. Paul. As in general, slight edge to the incumbent, but it’ll be close.

Senate
Tilt D (Tilt D)

House A
Romney (R) 52-45
McFadden (R) 49-47

Likely R (Likely R)

House B
Romney (R) 50-47
Franken (D) 50-45

Tilt R (Tilt R)

 

Districts 25 and 26. I do this together, as they are essentially mirror images of each other. 25B and 26A are Rochester, and have gone from a Republican bastion to a DFL stronghold in just a few short years. This used to be the land of Republicans like Gil Gutknecht, but those days have passed as the Mayo Clinic has exploded and more educated liberals move to the area for work. Republicans showed signs of life in 2014 for the first time in a decade, but we will see if that was a last throe, or a comeback. 25A and 26B are the surrounding areas around Rochester, and are currently Republican seats, as they have not seen the influx that Rochester proper has. Both senate seats are currently held by Republican senators, but Democrats are challenging them both, particularly in 26. Longtime mainstream GOP Senator David Senjem, the man who was temporarily assigned with getting a hold of the GOP caucus following the troubles the party faces in 2011-2012 holds SD25. Senjem has the easier race of the 2 GOP Senators, as he is more tenured, and is facing a former DFL staffer Dale Amorosia in the more Republican SD25. It is an Obama Franken district, but Senjem is an institution, and is likely to win reelection against the neophyte pharmacy technician. In SD26, Carla Nelson (R) is running for reelection against well-connect local attorney and 2014 HD-26B candidate Rich Wright. Wright has a stronger resume, better campaign skills, running against a less tenured incumbent, and is running in the bluer district. I still give the edge to the incumbent Senator, but if there is a Trump collapse among white educated voters in Rochester, then SD26 almost surely flips. 25A GOP Representative Duane Quam didn’t get a challenger last cycle in what was perhaps the greatest recruiting failure by the DFL last cycle, particularly as Quam had a highly contested election in 2012. This cycle he faces recently retired teacher Linda Walbruch, who stepped down after teaching at the same school for 40 years to run for political office. Quam is a strong favorite here, as Walbruch doesn’t have any political experience or notable connections, even though she has racked up her fair share of liberal endorsements. In 25B, DFL incumbent Kim Norton is retiring, leaving her 53% Obama seat open. The DFL has settled on retired businessman Duane Sauke. Republicans have settled on former State Representative Fran Bradley, who represented this district from 1994-2006, when he was replaced by the aforementioned Kim Norton. Norton held Bradey to a 300 point win in 2004, before scaring him out of the race the next cycle, which won in the blue wave that year. This district is a lot different than it was in 2004 when Bradley was last elected, and the district has not garnered the amount of money or attention that one would expect from a possible pickup opportunity. Rumor has it from the front lines that Sauke is favored, which flips this from an anticipated GOP pickup, to a DFL hold. In 26A we have DFL incumbent Tina Liebling facing Republican 22-year-old grocery store clerk Will Wagonner. Liebing beat a much more credible Republican in 2014 by double digits, and I expect a much larger margin for her this cycle. Freshman GOP Representative Nels Pierson is running for reelection for the first time, against John Austinson, a local high school teacher and football coach. Pierson dispatched a much stronger Democrat last cycle, and will win by a landslide margin this year.

Senate
Safe R (Likely R)

House 25A
Romney (R) 52-45
McFadden (R) 51-44

Safe R (Likely R)

House 25B
Obama (D) 53-44
Franken (D) 52-44

Tilt D (Tilt R)

 

Senate
Likely R (Tilt R)

House 25A
Obama (D) 57-40
Franken (D) 56-39

Safe D (Safe D)

House 26B
Romney (R) 53-44
McFadden (R) 51-44

Safe R (Safe D)

 

Districts 27. This area is fairly strong DFL cornfields along the Iowa border, akin to neighboring IA-1 to the south. 27A is more or less Albert Lea/ Freeborn County, and 27B is more or less Austin/Mower County. In the senate seat, incumbent DFL Senator Dan Sparks is looking for 4 more years in St. Paul, after being first elected to this seat back in 2002. He only garnered token opposition in Gene Dornink. In 27A, this seat has flipped back and forth for a few cycles now, with Republicans winning midterms and Democrats winning in presidential terms going all the way back to 2008. Incumbent Republican Peggy Bennett won what I thought to be the most stunning margin of election night, unseating then-incumbent Shannon Savick 53-40. There was a strong liberal Independence candidate that cycle, which didn’t happen this year. Savick, who got caught flat footed and broke in her 2014 campaign, is not running again this cycle. Democrats instead look to college administrator Gary Schindler to carry the banner for Team Blue in this 55% Obama seat. I initially struggled labeling this seat as going towards Bennett again given the fact that Franken and Obama both carried it by double digits, and Savick was a uniquely terrible politician. But Bennet has proved to be a strong campaigner and a prolific fundraiser, far outpacing her Democratic opponent. This could flip back to the Ds due to the lean of the district, but I believe Bennet to be the favorite now. 27B incumbent Democratic Representative Jeanne Poppe has represented her 60% Obama district for over a decade. She has drawn a retired Republican businessman opponent in the form of Dennis Schminke for the second cycle in a row. Schminke actually seemed to be a decent candidate, having only lost this seat 54-46 in 2014. Still, Poppe is not going anywhere, as outperforming the top of the ticket by 5 points won’t win here in a presidential cycle.
Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 55-42
Franken (D) 54-41

Tilt R (Tilt D)

House B
Obama (D) 60-38
Franken (D) 56-39

Safe D (Likely D)

 

District 28: This is the southeastern corner of the state along the Iowa/Wisconsin border and the Mississippi river around and south of the college town of Winona. The northern part around Winona is generally a solidly DFL area, while the southern 28B is more swingy with an EVEN PVI. Interestingly, this is home to GOP Senator Jeremy Miller, the scion of a local Republican family. Miller is up for reelection this cycle against 2014 28B DFL candidate Jon Pieper, a local businessman who had a respectable showing against Greg Davids. Until further notice, I consider Miller to be an enigma, outside of the rules that bind other politicians, as he has defied logic during his entire political career. Until I see it on an election day that Miller has lost, I consider him unbeatable. Gene Pelowski (DFL) has represented the Winona area in the House of Representatives since his first election in 1986, and has not been challenged seriously in decades. Pelowski is running against the man he defeated in 2012, Adam Pace. Pelowski won that race 67-33, which should be the over/under for this rematch. In 28B there is Republican incumbent Greg Davids, who has represented this area more or less since 1991. He did lose for a single term in 2006, but won against the man who defeated him, Ken Tschumper against the 2008 headwind. Davids is facing local DFL school board member, and former Al Franken staffer Thomas Trehus. This has rather unexpectedly one of the most expensive House races in the entire country. Dem outside groups have dumped nearly half a million dollars backing Trehus, more than double the outside backing Davids has received. Davids has outraised Trehus, but that shouldn’t be a surprise considering he is the chair of the Tax Committee. Dems really smell blood in the water here, but I still give Davids the edge vs. the upstart.

Senate
Likely R (Likely R)

House A
Obama (D) 56-41
Franken (D) 54-41

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 52-46
Franken (D) 50-42

Tilt R (Likely R)

District 29: Centered in some of the western exurbs around Buffalo in blood red Wright County. Freshman Republican Senator Bruce Anderson is running against Democrat Some Dude PJ LaCroix. 3 term incumbent Representative Joe McDonald (R) and sophomore Marion O’Neil also face off against no name Democrats, Courtney Phillips and Steve Kilburn respectively. All 3 will win easily.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 60-38
McFadden (R) 57-39

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 57-40
McFadden (R) 54-41

Safe R (Safe R)

District 30: Much like district 29, but even more Republican and centered about St. Michael/Albertville and Elk River. Freshman Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (R), the former Minnesota Secretary of State is running for her first reelection. Sophomore GOP Rep Nick Zerwas easily won his first two races for the state legislature in 2012 and 2014, and is a shoo-in for a third against DFL social worker Sarah Hamlin. Firebrand conservative Representative Eric Lucero, who originally entered politics because the then GOP Representative in this district voted for the gay marriage bill in 2013, is running for his first reelection in 30B against Some Dude(tte) Margaret Fernandez. Lucero will easily beat her 2:1.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 58-39
McFadden (R) 56-40

Safe R (Safe R)

House 26B
Romney (R) 62-36
McFadden (R) 60-36

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 31: This is the part of Anoka County that makes Anoka County Republican. The rest of the county is actually pretty marginal, but this area is blood red exurbs. Senator Michelle Benson (R) is running against DFL Some Dude metalworker Ricky Englund. Benson is safe. 31A is home to Speaker Kurt Daudt (R). A movie could have a movie made about his political career. Following his incident in Montana where his gun was drawn on a seller he found on Craigslist, Daudt, and Daudt’s friend were in the midst of a cash deal gone bad over a Ford Bronco. Obviously the friend fell on the sword to clear Daudt of any wrongdoing. After this incident, he was promptly unopposed in his 2014 primary, and 2014 general election, and was promptly elected Speaker by the new GOP majority. Then during the 2015 legislative session, Daudt received massive amounts of flak for making deals with Senator Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL) to run through bills and a budget over the objections of Mark Dayton, who was deliberately left out of the Daudt/Bakk meetings. Because of the appearance of being in cahoots with Bakk, there was a large amount of discontent in his ranks, and a primary challenger emerged in conservative activist Alan Duff. Daudt fared better than the other incumbents that faced primary challengers on their flanks, but I suspect Daudt will be drummed out of leadership if Republicans lose the chamber in November. Daudt himself is not in danger in the general election against political newcomer Sarah Udvig On the other side of the district; we have one of the incumbents that didn’t fare so well against the flank challenger. 10-term incumbent Tom Hackbarth lost the GOP endorsement, went forward with the primary challenge anyways, and lost to Cal Bahr. Bahr ran against Hackbarth in both 2014 and 2012, losing the endorsement and dropping out. 3rd time’s the charm though, and Bahr will be the next State Representative from 31B after he inevitably beats DFLer Susan Larson in November.
Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 62-35
McFadden (R) 56-40

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 59-38
McFadden (R) 58-39

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 32: This is Chisago and Isanti Counties, which up until fairly recently was winnable for Democrats, and as recently as 2010 had DFL representation in these seats. However those two counties became one of the Republican epicenters of the state. State Senator Sean Nienow, much like Tom Hackbarth in the adjacent House district 31B, lost the endorsement in the spring convention to a more pure blood conservative, proceeded to the primary anyways, and lost. Wealthy banker Mark Koran looks favored to be be the next senator from SD 32 after he faces lawyer Tim Nelson in November. Had this been a decade ago, Nelson probably would certainly be favored, as he has deep connections to the district, while Mark Koran is a recent transplant to the area after earning his fortune in St. Paul, only moving to the area in retirement. But it isn’t a decade ago, so Koran is the favorite, in spite of the fact that Nelson has campaigned and fundraised circles around him. I put this race on one of my “upsets to watch” simply due to how gaudy the campaign quality differential has been. In 32A, which is more or less Cambridge and unpopulated areas in Isanti and western Chisago Counties, we have a rematch of 2012 and 2014. GOP Representative Brian Johnson, a former police officer, faces off once more against Paul Gammel, a fellow police officer himself. I don’t see this race going any differently than the last two times, with a solid mid-to-upper single digit Johnson victory all but assured. I had a big spiel written about 32B, but it turns out that Bob Barrett, the GOP nominee, is ineligible as he doesn’t live in the district. So the November votes are meaningless. A February special election will take place.

Senate
Likely R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 57-41
McFadden (R) 51-44

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 55-43
McFadden (R) 52-44

Safe VACANT (Safe VACANT)

 

District 33: Money Money Money Money. This includes the wealthiest areas of the entire state around Lake Minnetonka, plus exurbs not around the lake. The exceedingly wealthy in Minnesota lean Republican but not to the same level they do in other states, and the exurbanites in district 33B are as conservative as the ones in 29 and 30. I am curious to see how this district reacts to Trump. This district actually saw more than its fair share of insurgent Tea Party type candidates unseating incumbents in 2012 in their primaries. One of the primary victors from 2012 is Senator David Osmek, who is running against businesswoman Sherrie Pugh, who is black in a district that is probably in excess of 99% white. Also the Libertarian Party makes a rare appearance in this district with Jay Nygard. Nygard made news by choosing to go to jail rather than dismantle his illegal wind turbine on his property. His name was in the news earlier this year, and his status as a bit of a property rights iconoclast may get him a couple percentage points. The presence of a high name rec Libertarian, and potential for Trump fallout in this particular area of MN-3 keeps me from calling in 100% Safe. Freshman Jerry Hertaus in 33A represents all of the blood red sparsely populated areas on the western edge of Hennepin County. Hertaus will be facing against self-made wealthy Pharmacist Professor, and businesswoman Norrie Thomas. Thomas has a strong profile, but a 62% Romney district is too tough of a row to hoe for her, e ven with an anticipated drop of the margins at the top of the ticket. Hertaus is safe. In 33B, there is perhaps the second biggest Republican bomb thrower in. the state legislature (behind Mary Franson) in Cindy Pugh. Pugh, who is white and not related to the DFL Senate candidate, was one of the Tea Party candidates mentioned above, and she has not shied away from stirring the pot with some comments one might have expected based on how her initial 2012 campaign went. Pugh faces college professor Brad Brothen. Brothen is not as strong of a candidate as Norrie Thomas, but this district is a lot bluer, and Pugh is a lot more of a lightning rod.

Senate
Likely R (Likely R)

House A
Romney (R) 62-36
McFadden (R) 61-36

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 55-44
McFadden (R) 54-43

Likely R (Safe R)

 

District 34: Maple Grove. In terms of raw vote totals, Maple Grove is one of the places Republicans need to run up the margins to be competitive statewide, though the GOP margins have begun to dwindle as the city is no longer expanding. 21 year incumbent GOP Senator Warren Limmer is running for another term, and will take it handily over DFL lawyer Bonnie Westlin. After over a decade of smooth reelection efforts, Republican Joyce Peppin (34A) is running against Dave Craig, not to be confused with the Wisconsin State Representative, and not related to MN-2 DFL candidate Angie Craig. This Dave Craig doesn’t have the profile or political strength of the other Craigs, and will lose to Peppin handily. Incumbent Republican Dennis Smith (R), Former Speaker Kurt Zellers’ handpicked successor in this seat is running for his first reelection against businesswoman Kristin Bahner in 34B. This race never got much attention, and gets moved to Safe R in spite of being a 51% McFadden/Romney district in affluent suburbs.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 58-40
McFadden (R) 57-40

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 51-47
McFadden (R) 51-46

Safe R (Likely R)

 

District 35: This is the district straddling the Mississippi River in central Anoka County including Anoka and Coon Rapids. It has long had a quirky libertarian streak to it, and was the strongest area for Jesse Ventura in 98. Libertarianish Republican Jim Abeler won the seat over a more mainstream Republican primary opponent in a special election earlier this following the mid-term retirement of Senator Brenden Petersen. Abeler fits this quirky district like a glove and will hold it until Kingdom Come if he wants. The A side of 35 is home to young up and comer GOP Representative Abigail Whelan. Whelan has been in politics for a long time in spite of being in her 20s. Whelan faces DFL small businessman Andy Hillbregt. Hillbregt simply does not have the political acumen to have made this a race, however. On substantially more Republican side, and Peggy Scott (R-Andover) is easily going to win her 5th term in St. Paul. Expect her to romp over local DFL chairman Wes Volkenant.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 52-45
McFadden (R) 51-45

Safe R (Likely R)

House B
Romney (R) 57-41
McFadden (R) 56-41

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 36: This is moderate to DFL area along the Mississippi river in the NW suburbs, with B being slightly more Democratic than A. Freshman DFL Senator John Hoffman unseated the incumbent 1-term GOP Senator in this seat back in 2012. Republicans have nominated Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde. Lunde has been a center to center left Republican mayor of the blue city Jesse Venture once was mayor of (100% serious). This is an area that Trump will absolutely plummet in, but Lunde is a serious candidate. Democrats have pumped in over 400k vs. Republicans putting in 100k as outside expenditures, and Hoffman’s campaign has spent over a hundred grand on its own, tripling up on Lunde’s haul. This is a hotly contested race, but Dems are on home turf and have outspent Lunde by a huge margin, so I expect Hoffman to win reelection. In 2012, Republicans got THE candidate in 2012 in the form of Mark Uglem, the then sitting mayor of Champlain Park, to run in 36A. Uglem managed to win a tightly contested race against DFLer Grace Baltich. Uglem showed his ability to run ahead of the top of the ticket in 2014, and he didn’t draw a serious challenger in 2016. Uglem will face off against DFL youngster college student Kevin Parker. Uglem will win easily in this swingy seat. 10-year incumbent DFL Representative Melissa Hortman is a perennial target of the GOP, but she seems to be remarkably consistent in her reelection victories, getting 51-55% against strong GOP opposition. This cycle will be no different, as the Republicans are once again gunning for her with former Brooklyn Park City Councilman Peter Crema, her 2014 opponent. Hortman won by 4 in the red wave election of 2014, and there is  no such headwind this year, so expect her to improve upon her margin a bit. As always, Hortman can’t be considered safe in a center-left district against a strong Republican, but we’ve been down this road before, repeatedly.

Senate
Lean D (Lean D)

House A
Romney (R) 49-48
McFadden (R) 48.45-47-49

Likely R (Likely R)

House B
Obama (D) 53-45
Franken (D) 52-44

Likely D (Likely D)

 

District 37: Blaine and Spring Lake Park, with a sliver of Coon Rapids. Blaine leans ever so slightly Republican now, but it used to be a DFL stronghold and is close to 50/50, while Spring Lake Park and Coon Rapids are center-left suburbs that swing violently with the tide. This district is also one of the strongest IP areas in the entire state, and was integral to Jesse Ventura’s victory in 1998, much like the adjacent district 35. Senator Alice Johnson, who served 1 term in the upper chamber after 14 years in the House, is choosing to retire at age 75. That clears the road for 79 year old DFL Representative Jerry Newton to go for a promotion. Newton faces local Chamber of Commerce Chair Brad Sanford. It isn’t such a blue district where Newton is a shoo-in, but he is strongly favored, particularly as Sanford’s campaign never really got off the ground. I think 79 would be by far the oldest freshman Senator in my time following politics in Minnesota. With Newton going for a promotion, that leaves his House seat open in 37A. the DFL has nominated DFL staffer Erin Koegel. Republicans have nominated small businessman Anthony Wilder. Koegel has a strong campaign and fundraising advantage in this 53% Obama district. The Libertarians are playing here as well with Brian McCormick, who is running an unabashedly pro-drug campaign, decriminalizing all drugs. With Republicans triaging this seat, I have it at Likely D, as it isn’t THAT blue, but Koegel may be one of the weakest DFL freshman next cycle. In the more Republican 37B, Tim Sanders had a strong 32 year-old career and is stepping aside this cycle after surviving attacks from the right. This race was shaping up to be a close race for an open seat, but GOP nominee Nolan West was forced to resign from his position as a GOP staffer because of a number of super racist Facebook posts, including “It’s lynching time” in response to Obama winning election. The Republican establishment is throwing him to the wolves, and absolutely no one is coming to his defense; he looks to be triaged immediately. With this irreparable damage to West and Republicans happening only 6 weeks out from the election, this puts this seat as a firm DFL pickup. The new Representative is likely to be retired teacher and local DFL operative Susan Witt.

Senate
Likely D (Lean D)

House A
Obama (D) 53-44
Franken (D) 53-43

Likely D (Likely D)

House B
Romney (R) 49-48
McFadden (R) 50-47

Likely D (Likely D)

 

District 38: This district includes red exurbs and in the NW metro from Lino Lakes to Hugo, with 38B having some affluent purple/bluish suburbs thrown in. This is fairly sparsely populated space speckled with McMansion housing developments. 2nd term Republican incumbent Senator Roger Chamgerlin looks to win his 3rd term against technology consultant Pat Davern. 28-year GOP incumbent Linda Runbeck is running for a 15th term in 38A. She is a prohibitive favorite against DFL sacrificial lamb Kevin Fogarty. Former Majority Leader Matt Dean represents the eastern half 38B. I was sort of surprised he even bothered to run for reelection after he was unceremoniously omitted from leadership last cycle. He was part of the internal GOP purge that ultimately ended with 2010 product Kurt Daudt ending up as Republican leader. But even if his own party pushed him aside, he is running for a 7th term, and his constituents will likely reelect him against DFL neophyte Ami Wazawik.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 54-44
McFadden (R) 52-45

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 52-46
McFadden (R) 52-45

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 39: Eastern Washington County. The Southern half (39B) is dominated by purple Stillwater, with the northern half (39A) of the district dominated by Red Forest Lake. Incumbent Republican freshman Senator Karin Housley had a highly contested first election in 2012, and looks like she is getting off easier this cycle, with Democrats only able to muster a no name attorney, Sten Hakanson to run against her. I expect Housley to win fairly easily, and Hakanson has been unable to put together much of a campaign against her. In 39A, the Forest Lake district, 5-term GOP Representative Bob Dettmer is poised to win his 6th term in St. Paul against probation officer Democrat Jody Anderson, who is male. Dettmer is quite popular in his house district, and over performs pretty much every other Republican in the area. In the Stillwater-based district, Republican Kathy Lohmer (R) who was swept into office in 2010 is running for her 4th term. Democrats recruited Maplewood City Attorney Hugh Kantrud to run against her. Lohmer has proven to be quite the adept campaigner, but Democrats are going for the district, and Kantrud has fundraised and campaigned admirably, so it isn’t safe for the incumbent, though she is strongly favored in this purple district. Though, when a challenger out raises an incumbent, it is definitely a race to watch.

Senate
Safe R (Likely R)

House A
Romney (R) 53-45

McFadden (R) 52-45

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 50-48
Franken (D) 48.69-48.08

Likely R (Likely R)

 

District 40: Brooklyn Park. Other than Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth, Brooklyn Park gives the DFL the highest net vote total out of any city in the state, which as mentioned above, actually has a center-left Republican mayor. This seat is going to be super boring for pretty much everything this year. Senator Chris Eaton won his special election in 2011 and has won easily ever since. She will easily dispatch of her GOP opponent Robert Marvin. 40A incumbent Mike Nelson didn’t draw an opponent this year, which also happened in 2012. Nelson was first elected in 2002, and hasn’t had a serious challenge to his tenure since. Like her western neighbor Nelson, 40B incumbent Deb Hilstrom is a long-term entrenched incumbent that is in no danger in her sapphire blue district after beating a token primary opponent in August. The Republican Party is putting up Mali Marvin, her 2014 opponent against Hilstrom again, so she is not officially unopposed, though she beat Marvin more than 2:1 in 2014, so it might as well be.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 70-29
Franken (D) 65-32

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 68-29
Franken (D) 65-31

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 41: Columbia Heights, Fridley, and New Brighton. These are some quite blue inner ring suburbs you’re going to find. I graduated high school in this district after relocating to the area as a teenager. Incumbent DFL Senator Barb Goodwin is retiring for a second time. She first retired from the House in 2007, but came back to the political area in 2010 to replace disgraced corrupt State Senator Satveer Chaudhary. After 2 terms she is going back into retirement. Running to replace her is Representative Caroline Laine (D-41B), who is a prohibitive favorite against Republican Gary Johnson. Connie Bernardy (DFL-41A) won her return to political office under the new lines for 2012, as she had previously served in the House from 2001-2006. She will face Republican Some Dude Ruan Evanson in November. Bernardy is a sharp politician and this is a friendly district for her, so she is safe. The aforementioned Laine is leaving the bluer of the two districts, and will likely be replaced by fellow DFLer Mary Kunesh-Podein, the chairwoman of the New Brighton Parks and Rec Board. Kunesh-Podein will face 2014 GOP nominee Camden Pike, who garnered a whopping 29% against Laine that year.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 59-38
Franken (D) 58-38

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 62-35
Franken (D) 62-34

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 42: This is northern Ramsey County: marginally DFL area in the north (~42A), and strong DFL area is the south (~42B). Freshman Senator Bev Scalze is retiring after just 4 years in office at age 72. Representative Jason Isaacson (D-42B) is running for her seat after 4 years in the lower chamber. Isaacson will face off against anti-abortion advocate Candy Sina in November. Neither party seems to be paying much attention to this district: Seemingly writing off Sina in this 54% Obama (and trending blue) district. Even the Strib doesn’t list SD42 as a competitive race, which is surprising as they included nearly every district that is outside of Safe D or Safe R. I am not going to go on a limb and call an open D+2 district safe, but I see Isaacson as a prohibitive favorite. Incumbent HD42A Representative Dr. Barb Yarusso won her first shot at political office in 2012 and fended off a very strong challenge in 2014, winning by 220 votes against Randy Jessup. Jessup, who is running again this year was touted as a self-financer, but Yarusso had a lot of moneyed friends that financed her campaign well in 2012-2014, and have been doing so so again in 2016, outraising Jessup by a fair amount. Yarusso has now started to bank a fair amount of her haul, signaling confidence in her reelection changes. The seat seems to be moving towards Yarusso, and has been taken off the board by a number of local prognosticators, so I feel confident in moving my rating to the left a notch. In the open 57% Obama 42B, Democrats have gone with Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Jamie Becker-Finn, and Republicans have gone with realtor Tracy Nelson. No one else expected 42B to be competitive, and Nelson’s campaign never amounted to much.

Senate
Likely D (Likely D)

House A
Obama (D) 51-46

Franken (D) 53-44

Lean D (Tilt D)

House B
Obama (D) 57-41

Franken (D) 57-40

Safe D (Likely D)

 

District 43: This is a district made up of inner and second ring suburbs to the north and east of St. Paul. It is a lot like district next door district 42, insomuch as 43A in the north is DFL leaning, and 43B is strongly DFL. If anything, district 43 is slightly bluer than 42. All 3 DFL incumbents in this district are running reelection. 20-year incumbent Senator Chuck Wiger is running against Republican public access tv personality Bob Zick. Zick was last seen running for HD43B in 2012, losing the Republican primary 55-45 to Kevin Kline. Kline went on to lose the General Election 60:40. Wiger won his last reelection with 65% of the vote, and remains safe this year. In 43A, Peter Fischer is running for his 3rd term against Republican challenger Bob Cardinal. In Cardinal is a former mayor of Maplewood, and has been plagued with scandals causing him to lose his mayor’s job, and then fail at retaking it. He got wrapped up in a bit of a scandal akin to the one we saw sweep through Pennsylvania with judges and porn and lewd jokes. I didn’t think it’ll be a death blow to his chances, and he was never going to have all that good of a chance in a D+4 seat anyways, but his campaign absolutely fell flat. 43B, 12-year incumbent DFL representative Leon Lillie is running for reelection, and is all but assured another term in the bluer of these two House districts. Lillie faces attorney and blogger Nathan Hansen. If you really want a trip, check out @nathanmhansen on twitter and see all the crazy conspiracy theories (like Hillary Clinton having a body double) he posts. Lillie will absolutely destroy this guy in November.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 56-42

Franken (D) 55-41

Safe D (Likely D)

House B
Obama (D) 57-40

Franken (D) 56-40

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 44: Rich suburbs but not really exurbs. Plymouth used to be a Republican stronghold, but has begun to show signs of leftward movement. While Minnetonka is a pretty DFL city, and moving further that direction steadily after formerly resembling Plymouth politically. Lots of action going on here, with the announcement that Terri Bonoff would finally be challenging Erik Paulsen, leaving her senate seat open to do so. Democrats have rallied behind Minnetonka Planning Commissioner Deb Calvert, a former high level staffer for Amy Klobuchar. Republicans have lined up behind former Pawlenty Deputy Chief of Staff Paul Anderson (not to be confused with the 12B Representative). Both sides are dumping huge resources and effort into this district, which has become the single most expensive legislative race in the entire state, as both see it as vital to control of the chamber in January. Outside Dems have dumped in nearly half a million, with Republicans putting in nearly 400k. Each candidate has raised about a hundred grand, with Anderson having the slightest edge in receipts. Expect this one to go down to the wire. With the general trends in the area, and expectation that Trump will do poorly in this highly educated affluent suburban district, and the fact that Obama and Franken both carried it, I give a 50.01% chance that the DFL keeps it. 44A is the more Republican part of this district, and includes most of the city of Plymouth and is represented by Sarah Anderson (R) Sarah Anderson, at only 42 years old, may have a future in higher office down the road and would be a solid candidate to replace Paulsen if he chooses to run for higher office. A loss however may doom any prospects for advancement politically for her. I had given her a Safe R ranking in 2012, and to my surprise the race was quite a bit closer than I anticipated against a no name Democrat. This caused me to take a look into Plymouth’s election results, and it appears as though the city has hit the inflection point that Minnetonka hit in 2004, and Edina hit in 2008, where the population no longer expands, and the Republican strength in the city decreases. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out, as if Plymouth starts voting like Minnetonka, Paulsen’s replacement will have a tough time getting elected as a Republican in MN-3. Representative Anderson faces off again against Businesswoman Ginny Klevorn. Anderson has run away from Trump as fast as she can after the Access Hollywood tape was released, but Dems have moved in late on this district tying her to Trump and the GOP in general. Both campaigns have been playing like this race came on the table late with movement towards Klevorn, and simply put, Dems have a better party and campaign infrastructure and the larger amount of funds that come with those. I think Anderson wins, but this race has clearly broke against her late, with all the momentum in Klevorn’s court. In 44B, incumbent freshman DFLer Jon Applebaum continues to impress with his stellar fundraising and campaign chops at only 31 years old, being able to quadruple up on expenditures compared to his GOP opponent this cucle. Much like Anderson, Applebaum could have a future in higher office down the road if he can maintain his purple House district. In one of the most high profile and expensive races in 2014, Applebaum defeated Republican Ryan Rutzick, while raising more money than any other legislative candidate in the entire state in an open seat. Initially Republicans had made waves about taking out Applebaum, but strong candidates were scared away, and recruitment failed. Ultimately retired insurance agent Patti Meier became the nominee. She has not been keeping up the torrid pace that Rutzick did last cycle, and I suspect that Applebaum will improve upon his 51-48 margin last cycle, perhaps significantly.

Senate
Tilt D (Tilt D)

House A
Romney (R) 51-48

McFadden (R) 50-47

Tilt R (Likely R)

House B
Obama (D) 54-44

Franken (D) 55-43

Likely D (Likely D)

 

District 45: Cystal,  New Hope and Golden Valley. My home! I bought a house in Golden Valley in 2015, so 2016 is the first general election in my new locale. Crystal and New Hope are more working class inner suburbs, while Golden Valley is more middle class to upper middle class and home to General Mills. Senator Ann Rest (DFL) has been in the Senate since 2000 following 8 years in the House, and looks to defeat conservative activist Roxana Bruins to continue that streak. Representative Lyndon Carlson has won here without campaigning every biennium since 1972. Carlson is 76 years old, is the co-Dean of the House (along with Phyllis Kahn, who was defeated in her primary), and will be carried out of the Capital feet first. Republicans put up charter school advocate Richard Lieberman against Johnson for the second time in as many cycles, but it will be 60-40 Johnson, as it seems to be about those numbers every cycle for him. In 45B, Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) won his seat for life in 2012. I actually live just down the street from him and he came and knocked on my door and chatted for a while, and for the first time in my life have a yard sign in my yard for him. Not that he needs it, as he will win easily.  He faces Republican Alma Wetzker in November, a rematch of 2014. 45B is even bluer than 45A, so the race is effectively moot.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 59-39

Franken (D) 58-38

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 63-34

Franken (D) 64-32

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 46: St. Louis Park and Hopkins. St. Louis Park has a large liberal Jewish population (including the Franken family), and Hopkins is an aging center-left upper-middle-class suburb, similar to Golden Valley to the North. Outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul proper, this is probably the most liberal district in the state, though certainly not the most Democratic, electorally speaking. 10-year incumbent DFL Senator Ron Latz did not get a GOP challenger, and is running unopposed. 46A incumbent Representative Peggy Flanagan (DFL) is running against Republican teacher Anne Taylor. Flanagan “won a 2015 special election” where she was the only candidate of either party to enter, following the resignation of Ryan Winkler, who resigned his seat to move to Belgium for his wife’s work. In incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon’s old seat 45B, freshman DFL Representative Cheryl Youakim is running against Bryan Bjornson in a 2014 rematch. Bjornson in 2014 filled out his final financial disclosure form to the campaign finance board showing zero dollars raised, zero dollars spent, and zero debt. Not only that, but this year he formally terminated his campaign in July for no apparent reason. So… there’s that.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A
Obama (D) 64-34

Franken (D) 65-32

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 66-32

Franken (D) 67-30

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 47: (Does anyone else get annoyed having to jump back and forth across the metro to follow the numbers numerically???) Republican vote sink in the SW exurbs. The DFL has exactly zero presence here. Relatively moderate GOP Senator Julianne Ortman is retiring after holding this seat since 2002. Her replacement will be Dr. Scott Jenson, a medical family practitioner. Jenson defeated Jake Coleman at the endorsement convention in the spring, and Coleman dropped out then instead of moving forward to a primary. Jenson is expected to handily defeat DFL nominee Darryl Scarborough in the GE. GOP incumbent Jim Nash faces token Democratic opponent Sean White, an Army veteran. Nash will win easily. Unlike last cycle, GOP Representative Joe Hoppe (R-47B) is not running unopposed, officially. Democrat Some Dude(tte) Jane Montemayor is stepping up to the 14 year incumbent. She doesn’t have a chance, but she is running.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A
Romney (R) 63-35

McFadden (R) 59-37

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 56-42

McFadden (R) 52-46

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 48: The southern part of this district is fairly Republican Eden Prairie (This is Erik Paulsen’s stomping grounds), but the northern part is clearly center-left portions of Minnetonka that aren’t in 44B, as well as a slice of Eden Prairie. The Senate race has turn unexpectedly interesting as GOP Senator David Hann is running for reelection again against high school teacher Steven Cwodzinski. Opposition to Hann has galvanized around his staunch opposition to proposed expanded light rail to the SW metro through this district, in an area that desperately needs some relief from traffic. Taking out Hann would be a huge coup, as Hann is the sitting Senate Minority Leader, and with the suburbs moving left, Dems decided to make their move this cycle. Outside spending has been dollar for dollar at around 400k a piece, while Cwodzinski has managed to actually outraise the sitting GOP leader of the Senate(!!!) This race I still give to Hann on a knife’s edge, but this would be the crowning jewel in a large Dem night in the state. 48A DFL Representative Yvonne Selcer is retiring after 2 terms after winning 2 of the closest races in each of the 2012 and 2014 cycles. There was a primary for the Republican nomination for this seat. Ultimately the GOP primary voters went for conservative retired teacher Mary Schapiro instead over the moderate former DFL bundler Kris Newcomer. Shapiro has staked out a pretty staunch conservative profile, and is getting major financial backing in this EVEN PVI district. Shapiro is facing off against fellow against fellow retiree Laurie Pryor in November. Pryor has outraised Shaprio by a huge margin, and Dem expenditures in the state are slightly higher than the GOP ones. The consensus is that Shapiro is simply too conservative to win this seat. With the large fundraising gap, I am going to move this district from the Tilt R column, to the Tilt D column.  Jennifer Loon (R-48B) is the State Rep in Eden Prairie. Loon is probably best known as being the last woman standing following the RINO hunt that ensued after Minnesota passed its gay marriage legalization in 2013. Conservatives challenged in primaries all of the GOP backers of the bill, forcing some into retirement, and knocking off others. Loon, however, fended hers off, and earned herself some serious bipartisan cred in this socially liberal affluent suburban district. She didn’t garner a serious challenger, and will face off against recent University of Minnesota graduate Ben Sherlock. Loon will romp in this light red district, which is more than can be said for most suburban Republicans in Hennepin County.

Senate
Tilt R (Likely R)

House A
Obama (D) 52-46

Franken (D) 52-45

Tilt D (Tilt R)

House B
Romney (R) 52-47

McFadden (R) 52-46

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 49: Edina and west Bloomington. The western part of Bloomington is marginal, while the eastern part is quite blue. Edina used to be an affluent Republican stronghold, but has quickly become politically marginal and stereotypically affluent, and a tinge blue. The 2012 SD49 race was incredibly expensive, and it pitted an up and coming DFL lawyer against a sitting GOP State Representative. Massive amounts of money were dumped into this race, but it has become too blue for Republicans to win district wide, and now-MNGOP Chairman Keith Downey found that out the hard way losing to now-Senator Melissa Franzen. The 8-point Franzen/Downey race will likely go down as the election where Republicans triaged Edina and west Bloomington. Evidence to support this is the fact that Franzen’s 2016 opponent is a retired Chamber of Commerce lobbyist named Mike Lehmann, who isn’t expected to actually be competitive for this seat. The State 49A is represented by DFLer Ron Erhardt. Erhart is an elderly man at 87. For decades he was an Arne Carlson Republican in the legislature, but he was one of the first victims of the recent fad of Republicans primarying their own in 2008. He then switched parties to the Democrats with the standard “The party left me” mantra. He came back and won his old seat back as a Democrat in 2012 at age 83. Erhardt was in no danger of losing a general election in Edina, only a Republican primary apparently. However the octogenarian made an unfortunate gesture during a hearing on sexual assault that sparked interest in this race again. Erhardt faces Republican restaurateur Dario Anselmo in November for the second time in as many cycles. Erhardt won by 3 in the red wave year of 2014, and would seem poised to win by more this year without the headwind, provided that incident doesn’t have a bigger effect than has shown up on the trail. I move this race to Lean D because Anselmo has been able to keep financial parity with Erhardt, but it was close between Lean and Likely. 49B, once about as politically even of a district as you would find anywhere, has moved left cycle over cycle, and is now firmly in the blue column, and getting more so every year. With the exception of a surprise loss in the 2010 election, Paul Rosenthal has held this seat since 2008, holding it against the red wave in ‘14 by 6 points. This cycle, Rosenthal will have an easy reelection against 25 year old web developer Max Rymer, who moved to the area in 2015. Expect Rosenthal to greatly eclipse the top of the ticket for the blue team.

 

Senate
Likely D (Likely D)

House A

Obama (D) 52-47

Franken (D) 52-47

Lean D (Likely D)

House B
Obama (D) 52-46

Franken (D) 53-45

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 50: Eastern Bloomington and Richfield. I actually lived in this district for a time before I bought my house in Golden Valley. The Senate district is safely Democratic, as Melissa Halvorson Wiklund is running for a second term after winning the seat by 23 in 2012. Her opponent is a Some Dude(tte) Kirsten Johnson, who doesn’t even have a campaign website. Halverson Wiklund should win by 30 minimum. DFLer Linda Slocum in 50A is running for reelection against Republican Tim Johnson, which is a formality. 50B was the sight of a massive surprise in a special election earlier this year. GOP Representative Chad Anderson won election to a partial term rental in an election with miniscule turnout. Anderson, the son-in-law of GOP State Senator Dan Hall, is a massive underdog this year’s with presidential turnout against Bloomington City Councilman Andrew Carlson, the man he edged out 51-49 in February. DFL operatives have been pulled out of this district in favor of other targets, which means the state party feels it is safely flipped in the blue column.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 64-34

Franken (D) 62-34

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 57-41

Franken (D) 56-41

Likely D (Likely D)

 

District 51: Burnsville and Eagan. This is really swingy territory in the south metro. It was swept by Republicans in 2010, and swept by Democrats in 2012, yet the leftward trend of the area meant Dems maintained both of the House seats in 2014 (The senate seat wasn’t up). State Senator Jim Carlson, who won two terms in 2006 and 2012, but was part of the aforementioned D losses in 2010, is on the ballot for the 4th time in as many cycles. He faces off against 2014 HD51B GOP candidate Victor Lake, who lost the 2014 primary after no endorsement was given at the district convention. Lake is a 29 year old immigrant from Uzbekistan. Carlson starts out as a clear favorite against the unconventional candidate, but the swingy nature of the district keeps it from being Safe D. Sandra Masin (DFL) has won the last 2 elections for 51A in 2012 and 2014 after losing the 2010 election for it. Masin has drawn retired Minnesota National Guard Staff Sergeant Brad Gerten, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gerten never managed to get much of a campaign going, raising under 10k for the cycle, and Masin appears poised to win another term. In the slightly redder 51B, incumbent sophomore Laurie Halverson is trying to win reelection to her purple seat after defeating a GOP incumbent to first win it back in 2012. Representative Halverson is facing off against retired engineer and computer programmer Pat Hammond in November. Halverson has shown to be very much a pro-business New Democrat (she voted against creating MNSure exchange, the only DFLer to do so.) This is as swingy of a district as you’re going to find in the state, but Halverson has already won this seat in much worse conditions against better competition. Much like in 51A, the lack of GOP infrastructure is showing through here, with Hammond unable to gain any traction as a candidate, also raising only 8k for the race in total.

Senate
Likely D (Likely D)

House A

Obama (D) 55-42

Franken (D) 54-43

Safe D (Likely D)

House B
Obama (D) 51-47

Franken (D) 52-46

Likely D (Lean D)

 

District 52: This is the liberal parts of northern Dakota County that was added to Kline’s district in the 2012 redistricting, moving the needle leftward on its PVI. The Republicans have a small presence at the southern fringe of this district in the southern part of 52B, but this is DFL territory. This district is a lot like District 50, which lies to the northwest. Senate District 52 is officially vacant, as 30 year incumbent DFL Senator James Metzen passed away after a battle with lung cancer in July. As the legislature’s work was done for the year, no special was called. Metzen had already announced his retirement, so there was no change in candidates here following his passing. Democrats got medical doctor and local school board member Matt Klein. Klein is the prohibitive favorite against GOP candidate Mark Misukanis, a professor of political science at a local liberal arts university. Misukanis has the profile to be a strong candidate in a more conservative district, though because of this seat’s strong DFL lean, he hasn’t garnered much attention. Rick Hansen is the DFL incumbent in 52A, and has been since 2004. Republicans nominated 69 year old pro-life activist Larry Sachi to run against Hansen. Hansen has won his last 2 elections by 20 and 25 points. Expect more of the same here. First elected in 2002, Joe Atkins (DFL) has been one of the more conservative members of the caucus relative to his district. The members of his party to his right hail from MUCH redder, generally rural districts. However Atkins is stepping aside after 14 years in office. The race to succeed him is between DFLer Mary T’Kach, and GOPer Regina Barr. T’Kach is a member of the Inver Grove Heights Planning Committee and Planning Commission, and has made a career out of being an energy efficiency advocate/professional. Barr is a financial business consultant and member of the Breast Cancer Education Association. I was set to call this race Lean D based on it only being D+1, the fact that Atkins retired, and relative candidate strength. But Barr has been outraised by T’Kach and none of the media outlets even consider it on the radar this year. So I will leave it at Likely D

Senate
Likely D (Likely D)

House A

Obama (D) 59-39

Franken (D) 57-40

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 53-45

Franken (D) 51-46

Likely D (Likely D)

 

District 53: Western Woodbury and Maplewood. Maplewood is a very awkwardly shaped city, and the part of it in district 53 is the SW tendril. Maplewood is quite DFL, and Woodbury is slightly Republican leaning. DFL Senator Susan Kent won a tightly contested seat in her first election when she unseated then-GOP incumbent Ted Lillie. Kent is running for reelection for the first time, and will face Republican Sharna Wahlgren. Wahlgren, a lawyer, was last seen in 2014 losing to Congresswoman Betty McCollum 61-33 in MN-4. Initially I had given Wahlgren a fair look based on name recognition, and she hasn’t been a poor fundraiser, but her name doesn’t appear on any other list of competitive challengers, so I find it hard to keep this race at only Lean D. DFL Representative Joanne Ward has held 51A since 2012, and is facing Republican businessman Andy Turonie. This half of the didstrict is D+5, and Ward has outperformed the top of the ticket in 2014 and 2012, so she is going to win a 3rd term this fall. 53B is home of former GOP Rep Andrea Kieffer, who was one of the victims of the RINO hunt that followed legalization of gay marriage in Minnesota circa 2013. The woman that replaced her is Republican Kelly Fenton, and she is running for her first reelection this cycle against Democrat Alberder Gillespie. Gillespie serves on the elected local school board, and is a Sunday school teacher and small business owner. Gillespie has a good profile for higher office if she lived in a more liberal district, or were able to run in the more purple Senate district. But with this seat going 52% for both Romney and McFadden, even though Fenton has the fundraising advantage, I can’t name her the favorite.

Senate
Likely D (Lean D)

House A

Obama (D) 56-41

Fanken (D) 56-40

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Romney (R) 52-47

McFadden (R) 52-46

Lean R (Likely R)

 

District 54: This is another one of the districts where the House seats are very different from one another, with 54A being far more Democratic than 54B. This also is a rare district that has all 3 seats open this cycle. Senator Katie Sieben (DFL) is retiring after a decade in office (likely in a move to set up a 2018 gubernatorial run), leaving her light blue seat open. 51A Representative Dan Schoen (DFL) is looking for a promotion after 4 years in the House. He is a prohibitive favorite for Sieben’s seat against Republican businesswoman Leiani Holmstadt. This race seems to not be on anyone’s radar as being competitive, in spite of it being open and D+1, and Schoen has campaigned circles around Holmstadt. Expect Schoen to move up relatively smoothly. 54A is quite decisively DFL friendly and centered around eastern Cottage Grove, and South St Paul (a suburb, not a neighborhood of St. Paul proper). With Shoen leaving this seat open to run for Senate, it will have a new Representative in January. The candidates are Cottage Grove City Councilwoman Jen Peterson (DFL) and St. Paul Park Mayor Keith Franke (R). Franke has the cooler job title, but St. Paul Park has a total of 5000 people, while Cottage Grove is 35000 people. With a 56% Obama and Franken district, Peterson is a strong favorite. 54B is swingy, and carried very narrowly by Obama, and by 4 points by Franken. Representing it is a 14-year incumbent Republican Denny McNamara. McNamara has been quite popular during his tenure, but is opting for retirement than going for an 8th term. Running to replace him is long time DFL official, Vietnam Veteran, and retired oil refinery worker Don Slaten, who ran against McNamara in 2014, losing 61-39. Money has flowed into both camps, and is considered a highly contested and competitive election. If I believed in Toss-up ratings, I’d put one here, but I don’t. I will give this race a Tilt D rating based on political trends in this district, but it will be tight.
Senate
Likely D (Likely D)

House A

Obama (D) 56-42

Franken (D) 56

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 49.15-48.57

Franken (D) 50-46

Tilt D (Tilt D)

 

District 55: Scott County. This is mostly Republican territory, but there are some purple dots starting to show up in places like Shakopee (which is most of 55A). The Senate district might be home to the only Djibouti immigrant on the ballot in the country. Ali Ali is running against incumbent Republican Freshman Eric Pratt. Pratt will win handily, but Ali Ali’s name and back story are pretty interesting. The action in 55A is a lot less interesting than it was last cycle. Back then, Bob Loonan ended up winning the GOP primary as a far right Republican against a fringe right Republican, and is a solid lock for reelection against liberal activist Mary Hernandez. Loonan hasn’t made any waves in St. Paul, and in this district he isn’t in danger except perhaps against an A+ challenger, which Hernandez is not. 58B sophomore incumbent Tony Albright has settled nicely into incumbency in his cozy Republican district. He does face Democratic Some Dude(tte) Ceci Haakenson. Expect Albright to win 60-40+.

Senate
Safe R (Safe R)

House A

Romney (R) 52-46

McFadden (R) 51-45

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 60-38

McFadden (R) 58-38

Safe R (Safe R)

 

District 56: Swingy Burnsville and a sliver of Apple Valley to the east (56B) and marginally Republican Savage to the west (56A). The Senate seat is held by sophomore GOP incumbent Dan Hall. Hall is running again against the man the DFL courted for this seat, Apple Valley City Councilman and former State Rep Phil Sterner. Sterner, in spite of him being touted as a “get” has hardly lit the world on fire as a candidate, though neither has Hall. This race has seen surprisingly little attention and money considering its status as a swingy suburban seat. Edge to Hall based on incumbency.  23 year old freshman incumbent Drew Christensen (R-56A) is running for reelection to the oddly similar named and aged Jared Christiansen, a 24 year old college student. Seriously, what is it with this district attracting college age candidates? Regardless, Christensen is the incumbent, and this is a Romney district, and is favored for reelection. Neither candidate raised much money, or campaigned all that intently. Watch for this poor fundraising for Christensen down the road, as a more seasoned candidate wouldn’t be so easily lulled. 56B is a district Obama carried by 66 votes in 2012, and will likely be competitive up and down the ticket again this fall. Freshman Roz Peterson faces off against Lindsey Port, a local small business owner, who defeated former Lockport (Illinois) school board member in the primary. This seems to be a race that has a lot of attention being paid to it, and is among the most expensive House races in the state, which, given its close nature, makes sense. I give Peterson the slightest edge, due to incumbency, and parity on the dollar front.

Senate
Likely R (Likely R)

House A

Romney (R) 51-47

McFadden (R) 51-46

Likely R (Likely R)

House B
Obama (D) 49.07-48.78

McFadden (R) 49-48

Tilt R (Tilt R)

 

District 57: Rosemount and Apple Valley. This is swingy area around Rosemount, and fairly Republican area around Apple Valley. Incumbent DFL Senator Greg Clausen is running for his first reelection this year. His opponent is Republican Cory Campbell, a local Chamber of Commerce official. Dems have pumped money into Clausen’s campaign, as well as in outside spending. Campbell has not been able to keep up, and Republicans have cut off outside spending on his behalf, which moves this seat to the left. Tara Mack, literally got caught with her pants down, and it cost her her career as a politician. Both her and Representative Tim Kelly opted not to run for reelection after their… incident. That leaves this 51% Obama seat open. Recruitment in this seat was relatively weak on both sides, and Republicans ended up with 20-something house wife Ali Jimenez-Hopper, and Democrats ended up with nonprofit executive Erin Maye Quade. Initially it appeared as though Republicans weren’t going to be going in for Jimenez-Hopper in this Obama-voting district, but with other seats souring on their candidates, Republicans have reconsidered and put in a little money here. The funds have been dwarfed by Quade, however, who has used Keith Ellison’s fundraising connections to build up an impressive warchest for a first time candidate. In the slightly more conservative Apple Valley based 57B, sophomore Anna Wills appears to be well positioned to get a third term against Democrat John Huot, a local realtor. Even though Obama carried this district, Wills seems like a strong favorite

Senate
Lean D (Tilt D)

House A

Obama (D) 51-47

Franken (D) 50-47

Likely D (Likely D)

House B
Obama (D) 49.07-48.78

McFadden (R) 49-48

Likely R (Likely R)

 

District 58: Lakeville and southern Dakota County. This is pretty Republican turf (56% Romney). The senate seat is open with the retirement of GOP State Senator Dave Thompson, who represented the seat since 2010. Democrats got an interesting candidate in incumbent Lakeville mayor Greg Little. Lakeville, like the rest of the seat, is generally pretty Republican, but he has high name recognition and is popular in by far the largest city in the district. Still, Little has a tough row to hoe against retired engineer Tim Pitcher, even though Little has outraised Pitcher.  Both parties are taking this seat seriously, as money and door knockers and yard signs and tv ads(!!!) are absolutely pouring into both camps. Quite the site in an R+8 seat. In the Lakeville based 58A freshman GOPer Jon Koznick is a prohibitive favorite against 1st grade teacher LeAnn Weikle. Regardless, this district is quite red, and Koznick will win. Pat Garafalo has represented Farmington in the House since 2004, and will continue to do so until at least 2019. First he has to beat Marla Vagts, a local lawyer. Vagst has a decent profile, but Garafalo isn’t going to lose.

Senate
Lean R (Lean R)

House A

Romney (R) 56-42

McFadden (R) 56-41

Safe R (Safe R)

House B
Romney (R) 56-42

McFadden (R) 53-43

Safe R (Safe R)

 

Districts 59-63. These seats are all Minneapolis, and all are going to go 70-30 DFL+. I will keep the segments brief unless there is something important involving the DFL primary

District 59: This is the north side of Minneapolis, home of Keith Ellison, and the closest thing to a majority Minority district you can get in the state. The Senate seat is occupied by Freshman Bobby Joe Champion, who served in the House prior to his 2016 election. Champion is running again. 59A incumbent Joe Mullery, who has served North Minneapolis in the House since 1997 was actually challenged by a Hmong refugee who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand before immigrating to the US, Fue Lee. Lee unseated Mullery in the primary 56-44, and will be a freshman Rep. in January. 59B Representative Raymond Dehn is running for reelection.
Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 84-14

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 80-17

Safe D (Safe D)

District 60: This district covers Northeast Minneapolis the U of M campus (and its 51,000 students), and a small sliver into Cedar-Riverside, and its large Somali community. Senator Kari Dziedzic was first election in a special election in 2012, and is running again and faces only a Legalize Marijuna Now Party challenger. No Republican filed in 60A against incumbent Diane Loeffler, but an independent did. That doesn’t matter against Loeffler though. After many cycles of primary challenges against 46 year incumbent Phyllis Kahn, the Somali community finally unseated her. The primary was won by a member of the Somali community that could bridge the gap with the University of Minnesota portion of the district with University alum and employee Ihlan Omar. Omar will be the first Somali American member of the state legislature after November.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 77-19

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 76-19

Safe D (Safe D)

District 61: This is Southwest Minneapolis, which is the most affluent area in the city. Minneapolis is known as the City of Lakes, and this district holds more than its fair share, and the homes on the lakes are rather palatial. This doesn’t mean they are any more conservative than the poorer parts of the city, as this is as Democratic as the poverty stricken 59th district. Senator Scott Dibble is running for another term. Representative Frank Hornstein is running for reelection, as is foirmer Speaker Paul Thissen in 60B. Thissen would become Speaker again if Dems take the chamber, as he is currently Minority Leader.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 78-19

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 78-20

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 62: This is a combination of Hipsters on the western side of the district, diverse areas in the center and south, and college students on the Northern edge. This is the most Democratic, most liberal, and most politically homogenous district in the entire state. Senator Jeff Hayden, Representative Karen Clark, and Representative Susan Allen are all running for reelection. Hayden had a semi-serious primary challenger from the Somali community, but without nearly the numbers in 62, Hayden won with 73%. Allen didn’t even garner a challenger of any type.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 86-9

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 87-10

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 63: This is South Minneapolis, running from Downtown to the Airport. Incumbents Patricia Torress Ray (63), Jim Davnie (63A), and Jean Wagenius (63B) are all returning for more time in St. Paul.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 83-14

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 74-24

Safe D (Safe D)

 

Districts 64-67: This is essentially St. Paul. Again, much like in Minneapolis, all of these seats are 100% Safe DFL, and will be won by blowout margins.

District 64: This is what is known as the West Side of St. Paul. It has many different pockets of different groups, far too many to try and mention here. Senator Dick Cohen is running again after 30 years in the Senate so far. Incumbent Representatives Erin Murphy (64A) and Dave Pinto (64B) are both back for more as well.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 77-20

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 70-27

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 65: This is Downtown St. Paul, and some surrounding areas. Senator Sandy Pappas is back for more time representing the State Capital. Representatives Rena Moran (65A) and Carlos Mariani (65B) are running again. Moran had a primary and won with 79% of the vote.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 83-14

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 77-20

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 66: This is the northern edge of St. Paul, and includes the State Fair Grounds, and a tiny sliver of Roseville to balance population. Senator John Marty actually lives in the sliver of Roseville, but has represented various forms of this district since 1986, and will continue to do so. Alice Hausman (66A) and John Lesch (66B) will be reelected to their House seats easily.

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 66-32

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 79-19

Safe D (Safe D)

 

District 67: This is the eastern part of St. Paul. Senator Foung Hawj will win election to a second term after winning the clown car primary for this seat in 2012. Tim Mahoney and Sheldon Johnson have represented eastern St. Paul in the House since the 1990s, and both are running for another term this year. Johnson has a Republican and a Libertarian on the ballot against him

Senate
Safe D (Safe D)

House A

Obama (D) 76-22

Safe D (Safe D)
House B

Obama (D) 74-23

Safe D (Safe D)

 

Predicted changes

SD 1 D->R

HD 5B D->R

SD 14 R->D

HD 14B R->D

HD 21A R->D

HD 25B D->R

HD 25B R->D

HD 37B R->VACANT

HD 37B R->D

HD 50B R->D

HD 54B R->D

HD 57B R->D

Minnesota Legislative Elections 2016: Metro

Second half of my biannual series on the Minnesota legislature. The first half, Outstate, can be viewed at http://rrhelections.com/index.php/2016/08/01/minnesota-legislative-elections-2016-outstate/

 

District 29: Centered in some of the western exurbs centered around Buffalo in blood red Wright County. Freshman Republican Senator Bruce Anderson, is running against Democrat Some Dude PJ LaCroix. 3 term incumbent Representative Joe McDonald (R) and sophomore Marion O’Neil also face off against no name Democrats, Courtney Phillips and Steve Kilburn respectively. All 3 will win easily.

Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 60-38
McFadden (R) 57-39

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 57-40
McFadden (R) 54-41

Safe R

District 30: Much like district 29, but even more Republican and centered around St. Michael/Albertville and Elk River. Freshman Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (R), the former Minnesota Secretary of State is running for her first reelection. Sophomore GOP Rep Nick Zerwas easily won his first two races for the state legislature in 2012 and 2014, and is a shoo-in for a third against DFL social worker Sarah Hamlin. Firebrand conservative Representative Eric Lucero, who originally entered politics because the then GOP Representative in this district voted for the gay marriage bill in 2013, is running for his first reelection in 30B against Some Dude(tte) Margaret Fernandez. Lucero will easily beat her 2:1.

Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 58-39
McFadden (R) 56-40

Safe R

House 26B
Romney (R) 62-36
McFadden (R) 60-36

Safe R

 

District 31: This is the part of Anoka County that makes Anoka County Republican. The rest of the county is actually pretty marginal, but this area is blood red exurbs. Senator Michelle Benson (R) is running against DFL Some Dude metalworker Ricky Englund. Benson is safe. 31A is home to Speaker Kurt Daudt (R). A movie could have a movie made about his political career. Following his incident in Montana where his gun was drawn on a seller he found on Craigslist, Daudt, and Daudt’s friend were in the midst of a cash deal gone bad over a Ford Bronco. Obviously the friend fell on the sword to clear Daudt of any wrongdoing. After this incident, he was promptly unopposed in his 2014 primary, and 2014 general election, and was promptly elected Speaker by the new GOP majority. Then during the 2015 legislative session, Daudt received massive amounts of flak for making deals with Senator Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL) to run through bills and a budget over the objections of Mark Dayton, who was deliberately left out of the Daudt/Bakk meetings. Because of the appearance of being in cahoots with Bakk, there was a large amount of discontent in his ranks, and a primary challenger emerged in conservative activist Alan Duff. Daudt fared better than the other incumbents that faced primary challengers on their flanks, but I suspect Daudt will be drummed out of leadership if Republicans lose the chamber in November. Daudt himself is not in danger in the general election against political newcomer Sarah Udvig On the other side of the district, we have one of the incumbents that didn’t fare so well against the flank challenger. 10-term incumbent Tom Hackbarth lost the GOP endorsement, went forward with the  primary challenge anyways, and lost to Cal Bahr. Bahr ran against Hackbarth in both 2014 and 2012, losing the endorsement and dropping out. 3rd time’s the charm though, and Bahr will be the next State Representative from 31B after he inevitably beats DFLer Susan Larson in November.
Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 62-35
McFadden (R) 56-40

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 59-38
McFadden (R) 58-39

Safe R

 

District 32: This is Chisago and Isanti Counties, which up until fairly recently was winnable for Democrats, and as recently as 2010 had DFL representation in these seats. However those two counties became one of the Republican epicenters of the state. State Senator Sean Nienow, much like Tom Hackbarth in the adjacent House district 31B, lost the endorsement in the spring convention to a more pure blood conservative, proceeded to the primary anyways, and lost. Rich banker Mark Koran will almost certain be the next senator from SD 32 after he faces lawyer Tim Nelson in November. Had this been a decade ago, Nelson may have had a shot, as he has deep connections to the district, while Mark Koran is a recent transplant to the area after earning his fortune in St. Paul, only moving to the area in retirement. But it isn’t a decade ago, So Koran will be the next senator here. In 32A, which is more or less Cambridge and unpopulated areas in Isanti and western Chisago Counties, we have a rematch of 2012 and 2014. GOP Representative Brian Johnson, a former police officer, faces off once more against Paul Gammel, a fellow police officer himself. I don’t see this race going any differently than the last two times, with a solid mid-to-upper single digit Johnson victory all but assured. I had a big spiel written about 32B, but it turns out that Bob Barrett, the GOP nominee, is ineligible as he doesn’t live in the district. So the November votes are meaningless. A February special election will take place.

Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 57-41
McFadden (R) 51-44

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 55-43
McFadden (R) 52-44

Safe VACANT

 

District 33: Money Money Money Money. This includes the wealthiest areas of the entire state around Lake Minnetonka, plus exurbs not around the lake. The exceedingly wealthy in Minnesota lean Republican but not to the same level they do in other states, and the exurbanites in district 33B are as conservative as the ones in 29 and 30. I am curious to see how this district reacts to Trump. This district actually saw more than its fair share of insurgent Tea Party type candidates unseating incumbents in 2012 in their primaries. One of the primary victors from 2012 is Senator David Osmek, who is running against businesswoman Sherrie Pugh, who is black in a district that is probably in excess of 99% white. Also the Libertarian Party makes a rare appearance in this district with Jay Nygard. Nygard made news by choosing to go to jail rather than dismantle his illegal wind turbine on his property. His name was in the news earlier this year, and his status as a bit of a property rights iconoclast may get him a couple percentage points. The presence of a high name rec Libertarian, and potential for Trump fallout in this particular area of MN-3 keeps me from calling in 100% Safe. Freshman Jerry Hertaus in 33A represents all of the blood red sparsely populated areas on the western edge of Hennepin County. Hertaus will be facing against self-made wealthy Pharmacist Professor, and businesswoman Norrie Thomas. Thomas has a strong profile, but a 62% Romney district is too tough of a row to hoe for her, e ven with an anticipated drop of the margins at the top of the ticket. Hertaus is safe. In 33B, there is perhaps the second biggest Republican bomb thrower in. the state legislature (behind Mary Franson) in Cindy Pugh. Pugh, who is white and not related to the DFL Senate candidate, was one of the Tea Party candidates mentioned above, and she has not shied away from stirring the pot with some comments one might have expected based on how her initial 2012 campaign went. Pugh faces college professor Brad Brothen. Brothen is not as strong of a candidate as Norrie Thomas, but this district is a lot bluer, and Pugh is a lot more of a lightning rod. Pugh is a strong favorite, but this race could swing late.

Senate
Likely R

House A
Romney (R) 62-36
McFadden (R) 61-36

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 55-44
McFadden (R) 54-43

Likely R

 

District 34: Maple Grove. In terms of raw vote totals, Maple Grove is one of the places Republicans need to run up the margins to be competitive statewide, though the GOP margins have begun to dwindle as the city is no longer expanding. 21 year incumbent GOP Senator Warren Limmer is running for another term, and will take it handily over DFL lawyer Bonnie Westlin. After over a decade of smooth reelection efforts, Republican Joyce Peppin (34A) is running against Dave Craig, not to be confused with the Wisconsin State Representative, and not related to MN-2 DFL candidate Angie Craig. This Dave Craig doesn’t have the profile or political strength of the other Craigs, and will lose to Peppin handily. Incumbent Republican Dennis Smith (R), Former Speaker Kurt Zellers’ handpicked successor in this seat is running for his first reelection against businesswoman Kristin Bahner in 34B. This race hasn’t gotten much attention as I figured it would consider it was 51% Romney and 51% McFadden. But with neither side making much noise here, I am gonna keep it at Likely R

Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 58-40
McFadden (R) 57-40

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 51-47
McFadden (R) 51-46

Likely R

 

District 35: This is the district straddling the Mississippi River in central Anoka County including Anoka and Coon Rapids. It has long had a quirky libertarian streak to it, and was the strongest area for Jesse Ventura in 98. Libertarianish Republican Jim Abeler won the seat over a more mainstream Republican primary opponent in a special election earlier this following the mid-term retirement of Senator Brenden Petersen. Abeler fits this quirky district like a glove and will hold it until Kingdom Come if he wants. The A side of 35 is home to young up and comer GOP Representative Abigail Whelan. Whelan has been in politics for a long time in spite of being in her 20s, and she may be looking for a promotion in the coming years as holding her seat cycle in and cycle out may prove problematic against a strong headwind if one develops. Whelan faces DFL small businessman Andy Hillbregt. I don’t see Hillbregt having the tailwind or political chops to make it this cycle, though with an untested freshman in a swing district, it isn’t off the table. On the B side the race appears to be far less interesting, as the district is substantially more Republican, and Peggy Scott (R-Andover) is easily expected to win her 5th term in St. Paul. Expect her to romp over local DFL chairman Wes Volkenant.

Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 52-45
McFadden (R) 51-45

Likely R

House B
Romney (R) 57-41
McFadden (R) 56-41

Safe R

 

District 36: This is moderate to DFL area along the Mississippi river in the NW suburbs, with B being slightly more Democratic than A. Freshman DFL Senator John Hoffman unseated the incumbent 1-term GOP Senator in this seat back in 2012. Republicans have nominated Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde. Lunde has been a center to center left Republican mayor of the blue city Jesse Venture once was mayor of (100% serious). This is an area that Trump will absolutely plummet in, and I give the edge of incumbency to Hoffman, but expect this race to be close, provided Lunde can shore up his right flank. In 2012, Republicans got THE candidate in 2012 in the form of Mark Uglem, the then sitting mayor of Champlain Park, to run in 36A. Uglem managed to win a tightly contested race against DFLer Grace Baltich. Uglem showed his ability to run ahead of the top of the ticket in 2014, and he didn’t draw a serious challenger in 2016. Uglem will face off against DFL youngster college student Kevin Parker. Uglem should win easily in this swingy seat. 10-year incumbent DFL Representative Melissa Hortman is a perennial target of the GOP, but she seems to be remarkably consistent in her reelection victories, getting 51-55% against strong GOP opposition. This cycle will be no different, as the Republicans are once again gunning for her with former Brooklyn Park City Councilman Peter Crema, her 2014 opponent. Hortman won by 4 in the red wave election of 2014, and there appears to be no such headwind this year, so expect her to improve upon her margin a bit. As always, Hortman can’t be considered safe in a center-left district against a strong Republican, but we’ve been down this road before, repeatedly.

Senate
Lean D

House A
Romney (R) 49-48
McFadden (R) 48.45-47-49

Likely R

House B
Obama (D) 53-45
Franken (D) 52-44

Likely D

 

District 37: Blaine and Spring Lake Park, with a sliver of Coon Rapids. Blaine leans ever so slightly Republican now, but it used to be a DFL stronghold and is close to 50/50, while Spring Lake Park and Coon Rapids are center-left suburbs that swing violently with the tide. This district is also one of the strongest IP areas in the entire state, and was integral to Jesse Ventura’s victory in 1998, much like the adjacent district 35. Senator Alice Johnson, who served 1 term in the upper chamber after 14 years in the House is choosing to retire at age 75. That clears the road for 79 year old DFL Representative to go for a promotion. Newton faces local Chamber of Commerce Chair Brad Sanford. It isn’t such a blue district where Newton is a shoo-in, but he is strongly favored. I think 79 would be by far the oldest freshman Senator in my time following politics in Minnesota. With Newton going for a promotion, that leaves his House seat open in 37A. the DFL has nominated DFL staffer Erin Koegel. Republicans have nominated small businessman Anthony Wilder. As near as I can tell Republicans have punted in this district entirely as Wilder seems to not raise any money, or even have a campaign site. The Libertarians are playing here as well with Brian McCormick, who is running an unabashedly pro-drug campaign, decriminalizing all drugs. With Republicans triaging this seat, I have it at Likely D, as it isn’t THAT blue, but Koegel may be one of the weakest DFL freshman next cycle. In the more Republican 37B, Tim Sanders had a strong 32 year-old career and is stepping aside this cycle after surviving attacks from the right. This race was shaping up to be a close race for an open seat, but GOP nominee Nolan West was forced to resign from his position as a GOP staffer because of a number of super racist Facebook posts, including “It’s lynching time” in response to Obama winning election. The Republican establishment is throwing him to the wolves, and absolutely no one is coming to his defense; he looks to be triaged immediately. With this irreparable damage to West and Republicans only 6 weeks out from the election, this puts this seat as a firm DFL pickup now. The new Representative is likely to be retired teacher and local DFL operative Susan Witt.

Senate
Lean D

House A
Obama (D) 53-44
Franken (D) 53-43

Likely D

House B
Romney (R) 49-48
McFadden (R) 50-47

Likely D

 

District 38: This district includes red exurbs and in the NW metro from Lino Lakes to Hugo, with 38B having some affluent purple/bluish suburbs thrown in. This is fairly sparsely populated space with bespeckled with McMansion housing developments. 2nd term Republican incumbent Senator Roger Chamgerlin looks to win his 3rd term against technology consultant Pat Davern. 28-year GOP incumbent Linda Runbeck is running for a 15th term in 38A. She is a prohibitive favorite against DFL sacrificial lamb Kevin Fogarty. Former Majority Leader Matt Dean represents the eastern half 38B. I was sort of surprised he even bothered to run for reelection after he was unceremoniously omitted from leadership last cycle. He was part of the internal GOP purge that ultimately ended with 2010 product Kurt Daudt ending up as Republican leader. But even if his own party pushed him aside, he is running for a 7th term, and his constituents will likely reelect him against DFL neophyte Ami Wazawik.

Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 54-44
McFadden (R) 52-45

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 52-46
McFadden (R) 52-45

Safe R

 

District 39: Eastern Washington County. The Southern half (39B) is dominated by purple Stillwater, with the northern half (39A) of the district dominated by Red Forest Lake. Incumbent Republican freshman Senator Karin Housley had a highly contested first election in 2012, and looks like she is getting off easier this cycle, with Democrats only able to muster a no name attorney, Sten Hakanson to run against her. I expect Housley to win farily easily, though with it being a marginal district, it isn’t a 100% lock. In 39A, the Forest Lake district, 5-term GOP Representative Bob Dettmer is poised to win his 6th term in St. Paul against probation officer Democrat Jody Anderson, who is male. Dettmer is quite popular in his house district, and over performs pretty much every other Republican in the area. In the Stillwater-based district, Republican Kathy Lohmer (R) who was swept into office in 2010 is running for her 4th term. Democrats recruited Maplewood City Attorney Alan Kantrud to run against her. Lohmer has proven to be quite the adept campaigner, but Democrats are going for the district, so it isn’t safe for her, though she is strongly favored in this purple district.

Senate
Likely R

House A
Romney (R) 53-45

McFadden (R) 52-45

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 50-48
Franken (D) 48.69-48.08

Likely R

 

District 40: Brooklyn Park. Other than Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth, Brooklyn Park gives the DFL the highest net vote total out of any city in the state, which as mentioned above, actually has a center-left Republican mayor. This seat is going to be super boring for pretty much everyting this year. Senator Chris Eaton won his special election in 2011 and has won easily ever since. She will easily dispatch of her GOP opponent Robert Marvin. 40A incumbent Mike Nelson didn’t draw an opponent this year, which also happened in 2012. Nelson was first elected in 2002, and hasn’t had a serious challenge to his tenure since. Like her western neighbor Nelson, 40B incumbent Deb Hilstrom is a long-term entrenched incumbent that is in no danger in her sapphire blue district after beating a token primary opponent in August. The Republican Party is putting up Mali Marvin, her 2014 opponent against Hilstrom again, so she is not officially unopposed, though she beat Marvin more than 2:1 in 2014, so it might as well be.

Senate
Safe D

House A
Obama (D) 70-29
Franken (D) 65-32

Safe D

House B
Obama (D) 68-29
Franken (D) 65-31

Safe D

 

District 41: Columbia Heights, Fridley, and New Brighton. These are some quite blue inner ring suburbs you’re going to find. I graduated high school in this district after relocating to the area as a teenager. Incumbent DFL Senator Barb Goodwin is retiring for a second time. She first retired from the House in 2007, but came back to the political area in 2010 to replace disgraced corrupt State Senator Satveer Chaudhary. After 2 terms she is going back into retirement. Running to replace her is Representative Caroline Laine (D-41B), who is a prohibitive favorite against Republican Gary Johnson. Connie Bernardy (DFL-41A) won her return to political office under the new lines for 2012, as she had previously served in the House from 2001-2006. She will face Republican Some Dude Ruan Evanson in November. Bernardy is a sharp politician and this is a friendly district for her, so she is safe. The aforementioned Laine is leaving the bluer of the two districts, and will likely be replaced by fellow DFLer Mary Kunesh-Podein, the chairwoman of the New Brighton Parks and Rec Board. Kunesh-Podein will face 2014 GOP nominee Camden Pike, who garnered a whopping 29% against Laine that year.

Senate
Safe D

House A
Obama (D) 59-38
Franken (D) 58-38

Safe D

House B
Obama (D) 62-35
Franken (D) 62-34

Safe D

 

District 42: This is northern Ramsey County: marginally DFL area in the north (~42A), and strong DFL area is the south (~42B). Freshman Senator Bev Scalze is retiring after just 4 years in office at age 72. Representative Jason Isaacson (D-42B) is running for her seat after 4 years in the lower chamber. Isaacson will face off against anti-abortion advocate Candy Sina in November. Neither party seems to be paying much attention to this district: likely writing off Sina in this 54% Obama (and trending blue) district. Even the Strib doesn’t list SD42 as a competitive race, which is surprising as they included nearly every district that is outside of Safe D or Safe R. I am not going to go on a limb and call an open D+2 district safe, but I see Isaacson as a prohibitive favorite. Incumbent HD42A Representative Dr. Barb Yarusso won her first shot at political office in 2012 and fended off a very strong challenge in 2014, winning by 220 votes against Randy Jessup. Jessup, who is running again this year was touted as a self-financer, but Yarusso had a lot of moneyed friends that financed her campaign well in 2012-2014, and have been doing so so again in 2016, outraising Jessup by a fair amount. This is one of the best Republican pick-up opportunities against in incumbent in the House, and the full court press is on. That being said, 2016 doesn’t seem to be the Republican wave 2014 turned out to be, which puts Yarusso in as good or better position than she was in in 2014. I give her the benefit of incumbency, but this will be a close one. In the open 57% Obama 42B, Democrats have gone with Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Jamie Becker-Finn, and Republicans have gone with realtor Tracy Nelson. No one else expects 42B to be competitive, and neither do I.

Senate
Likely D

House A
Obama (D) 51-46

Franken (D) 53-44

Tilt D

House B
Obama (D) 57-41

Franken (D) 57-40

Likely D

 

District 43: This is a district made up of inner and second ring suburbs to the north and east of St. Paul. It is a lot like district next door district 42, insomuch as 43A in the north is DFL leaning, and 43B is strongly DFL. If anything, district 43 is slightly bluer than 42. All 3 DFL incumbents in this district are running reelection. 20-year incumbent Senator Chuck Wiger is running against Republican public access tv personality Bob Zick. Zick was last seen running for HD43B in 2012, losing the Republican primary 55-45 to Kevin Kline. Kline went on to lost the General Election 60:40. Wiger won his last reelection with 65% of the vote, and is safe this year. In 43A, Peter Fischer is running for his 3rd term against Republican challenger Bob Cardinal. In Cardinal is a former mayor of Maplewood, and has been plagued with scandals causing him to lose his mayor’s job, and then fail at retaking it. He got wrapped up in a bit of a scandal akin to the one we saw sweep through Pennsylvania with judges and porn and lewd jokes. I don’t think it’ll be a death blow to his chances, but he wasn’t going to have all that good of a chance in a D+4 seat anyways. 43B, 12-year incumbent DFL representative Leon Lillie is running for reelection, and is all but assured another term in the bluer of these two House districts. Lillie faces attorney and blogger Nathan Hansen. If you really want a trip, check out @nathanmhansen on twitter and see all the crazy conspiracy theories (like Hillary Clinton having a body double) he posts. Lillie will absolutely destroy this guy in November.

Senate
Safe D

House A
Obama (D) 56-42

Franken (D) 55-41

Likely D

House B
Obama (D) 57-40

Franken (D) 56-40

Safe D

 

District 44: Rich suburbs but not really exurbs. Plymouth used to be a Republican stronghold, but has begun to show signs of leftward movement. While Minnetonka is a pretty DFL city, and moving further that direction steadily after formerly resembling Plymouth politically. Lots of action going on here, with the announcement that Terri Bonoff would finally be challenging Erik Paulsen, leaving her senate seat open to do so. Democrats have rallied behind Minnetonka Planning Commissioner Deb Calvert, a former high level staffer for Amy Klobuchar. Republicans have lined up behind former Pawlenty Deputy Chief of Staff Paul Anderson (not to be confused with the 12B Represntative). Both sides are dumping huge resources and effort into this district, as both see it as vital to control of the chamber in January. Expect this one to go down to the wire. With the general trends in the area, and expectation that Trump will do poorly in this highly educated affluent suburban district, and the fact that Obama and Franken both carried it, I give a 50.01% chance that the DFL keeps it. 44A is the more Republican part of this district, and includes most of the city of Plymouth and is represented by Sarah Anderson (R) Sarah Anderson, at only 42 years old, may have a future in higher office down the road and would be a solid candidate to replace Paulsen if he chooses to run for higher office. A loss however may doom any prospects for advancement politically for her. I had given her a Safe R ranking in 2012, and to my surprise the race was quite a bit closer than I anticipated against a nobody Democrat. This caused me to take a look into Plymouth’s election results, and it appears as though the city has hit the inflection point that Minnetonka hit in 2004, and Edina hit in 2008, where the population no longer expands, and the Republican strength in the city decreases. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out, as if Plymouth starts voting like Minnetonka, Paulsen’s replacement will have a tough time getting elected as a Republican in MN-3. Representative Anderson faces off again against Businesswoman Ginn Klevorn. With Anderson doing better in 2014 than 2012, as almost all Republicans did, I am not going to give this a Tilt or Lean ranking, but Anderson isn’t safe, particularly if the presidential turnout trend continues this cycle, or if Trump has an effect in this distrct. In 44B, incumbent freshman DFLer Jon Applebaum continues to impress with his stellar fundraising and campaign chops at only 31 years old. Much like Anderson, Applebaum could have a future in higher officedown the road if he can maintain his purple House district. In one of the most high profile and expensive races in 2014, Applebaum defeated Republican Ryan Rutzick, while raising more money than any other legislative candidate in the entire state in an open seat. Initially Republicans had made waves about taking out Applebaum, but strong candidates were scared away, and recruitment failed. Ultimately retired insurance agent Patti Meier became the nominee. She has not been keeping up the torrid pace that Rutzick did last cycle, and I suspect that Applebaum will improve upon his 51-48 margin last cycle, perhaps significantly.

Senate
Tilt D

House A
Romney (R) 51-48

McFadden (R) 50-47

Likely R

House B
Obama (D) 54-44

Franken (D) 55-43

Likely D

 

District 45: Cystal,  New Hope and Golden Valley. My home! I bought a house in Golden Valley in 2015, so 2016 is the first general election in my new locale. Crystal and New Hope are more working class inner suburbs, while Golden Valley is more middle class to upper middle class and home to General Mills. Senator Ann Rest (DFL) has been in office since 2000, and looks to defeat conservative activist Roxana Bruins to continue that streak. Representative Lyndon Carlson has won here without campaigning every biennium since 1972. Carlson is 76 years old, is the co-Dean of the House (along with Phyllis Kahn, who was defeated in her primary), and will be carried out of the Capital feet first. Republicans put up charter school advocate Richard Lieberman against Johnson for the second time in as many cycles, but it will be 60-40 Johnson, as it seems to be about those numbers every cycle for him. In 45B, Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) won his seat for life in 2012. I actually live just down the street from him and he came and knocked on my door and chatted for a while, and for the first time in my life have a yard sign in my yard for him. Not that he needs it, as he will win easily.  He faces Republican Alma Wetzker in November, a rematch of 2014. 45B is even bluer than 45A, so the race is effectively moot.

Senate
Safe D

House A
Obama (D) 59-39

Franken (D) 58-38

Safe D

House B
Obama (D) 63-34

Franken (D) 64-32

Safe D

 

District 46: St. Louis Park and Hopkins. St. Louis Park has a large liberal Jewish population (including the Franken family), and Hopkins is an aging center-left upper-middle-class suburb, similar to Golden Valley to the North. Outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul proper, this is probably the most liberal district in the state, though certainly not the most Democratic, electorally speaking. 10-year incumbent DFL Senator Ron Latz did not get a GOP challenger, and is running unopposed. 46A incumbent Representative Peggy Flanagan (DFL) is running against Republican teacher Anne Taylor. Flanagan “won a 2015 special election” where she was the only candidate of either party to enter, following the resignation of Ryan Winkler, who resigned his seat to move to Belgium for his wife’s work. In incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon’s old seat 45B, freshman DFL Representative Cheryl Youakim is running against Bryan Bjornson in a 2014 rematch. Bjornson in 2014 filled out his final financial disclosure form to the campaign finance board showing zero dollars raised, zero dollars spent, and zero debt. That should show everyone how unserious this candidacy is.

Senate
Safe D

House A
Obama (D) 64-34

Franken (D) 65-32

Safe D

House B
Obama (D) 66-32

Franken (D) 67-30

Safe D

 

District 47: (Does anyone else get annoyed having to jump back and forth across the metro to follow the numbers numerically???) Republican vote sink in the SW exurbs. The DFL has exactly zero presence here. Relatively moderate GOP Senator Julianne Ortman is retiring after holding this seat since 2002. Her replacement will be Dr. Scott Jenson, a medical family practitioner. Jenson defeated Jake Coleman at the endorsement convention in the spring, and Coleman dropped out then instead of moving forward to a primary. Jenson is expected to handily defeat DFL nominee Darryl Scarborough in the GE. GOP incumbent Jim Nash faces token Democratic opponent Sean White, an Army veteran. Nash will win easily. Unlike last cycle, GOP Representative Joe Hoppe (R-47B) is not running unopposed, officially. Democrat Some Dude(tte) Jane Montemayor is stepping up to the 14 year incumbent. She doesn’t have a chance, but she is running.

Senate
Safe R

House A
Romney (R) 63-35

McFadden (R) 59-37

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 56-42

McFadden (R) 52-46

Safe R

 

District 48: The southern part of this district is fairly Republican Eden Prairie (This is Erik Paulsen’s stomping grounds), but the northern part is clearly center-left portions of Minnetonka that aren’t in 44B, as well as a slice of Eden Prairie. The Senate race will be pretty uneventful as incumbent GOP Senator David Hann is running for reelection again against high school teacher Steven Cwodzinski. Hann will run ahead of the top of the ticket here, based on past performances. 48A DFL Representative Yvonne Selcer is retiring after 2 terms after winning 2 of the closest races in each of the 2012 and 2014 cycles. There was a primary for the Republican nomination for this seat. Ultimately the GOP primary voters went for conservative retired teacher Mary Schapiro instead over the moderate former DFL bundler Kris Newcomer. Shapiro has staked out a pretty staunch conservative profile, and is getting major financial backing in this EVEN PVI district. Shaprio is facing off against fellow against fellow retiree Laurie Pryor in November. I have no idea what is going to happen here, and we may see a race closer than the 31 vote margin we saw in 2014. I will give Shapiro the smallest of edges in this race simply because of the level of staffers she has in her corner. Though she ultimately may be too conservative to win this district, and is almost certainly too conservative to hold it.  Jennifer Loon (R-48B) is the State Rep in Eden Prairie. Loon is probably best known as being the last woman standing following the RINO hunt that ensued after Minnesota passed its gay marriage legalization in 2013. Conservatives challenged in primaries all of the GOP backers of the bill, forcing some into retirement, and knocking off others. Loon, however, fended hers off, and earned herself some serious bipartisan cred in this socially liberal affluent suburban district. She didn’t garner a serious challenger, and will face off against recent University of Minnesota graduate Ben Sherlock. Loon will romp in this light red district.

Senate
Likely R

House A
Obama (D) 52-46

Franken (D) 52-45

Tilt R

House B
Romney (R) 52-47

McFadden (R) 52-46

Safe R

 

District 49: Edina and west Bloomington. The western part of Bloomington is marginal, while the eastern part is quite blue. Edina used to be an affluent Republican stronghold, but has quickly become politically marginal and stereotypically affluent, and a tinge blue. The 2012 SD49 race was incredibly expensive, and it faced an up and coming DFL lawyer and a sitting GOP State Representative. Massive amounts of money were dumped into this race, but it has become too blue for Republicans to win district wide, and now-MNGOP Chairman Keith Downey found that out the hard way losing to now-Senator Melissa Franzen. The 8-point Franzen/Downey race will likely go down as the election where Republicans triaged Edina and west Bloomington. Evidence to support this is the fact that Franzen’s 2016 opponent is a retired Chamber of Commerce lobbyist that isn’t expected to actually be competitive for this seat. The State 49A is represented by DFLer Ron Erhardt. Erhart is an elderly man at 87. For decades he was an Arne Carlson Republican in the legislature, but he was one of the first victims of the recent fad of Republicans primarying their own in 2008. He then switched parties to the Democrats with the standard “The party left me” mantra. He came back and won his old seat back as a Democrat in 2012 at age 83. Erhardt is in no danger of losing a general election in Edina, only a Republican primary apparently. Erhardt faces Republican restaurateur Dario Anselmo in November for the second time in as many cycles. Erhardt won by 3 in the red wave year of 2014, and will win by more this year without the headwind. 49B, once about as politically even of a district as you would find anywhere, has moved left cycle over cycle, and is now firmly in the blue column, and getting more so every year. With the exception of a surprise loss in the 2010 election, Paul Rosenthal has held this seat since 2008, holding it against the red wave by 6 points. This cycle, Rosenthal will have an easy reelection against 25 year old web developer Max Rymer, who moved to the area in 2015. Expect Rosenthal to greatly eclipse the top of the ticket for the blue team.

 

Senate
Likely D

House A

Obama (D) 52-47

Franken (D) 52-47

Likely D

House B
Obama (D) 52-46

Franken (D) 53-45

Safe D

 

District 50: Eastern Bloomington and Richfield. I actually lived in this district for a time before I bought my house in Golden Valley. The Senate district is safely Democratic, as Melissa Halvorson Wiklund is running for a second term after winning the seat by 23 in 2012. Her opponent is a Some Dude(tte) Kirsten Johnson, who doesn’t even have a campaign website. Halverson Wiklund should win by 30 minimum. DFLer Linda Slocum in 50A is running for reelection against Republican Tim Johnson, which is a formality. 50B was the sight of a massive surprise in a special election earlier this year. GOP Representative Chad Anderson won election to a partial term rental in an election with miniscule turnout. Anderson, the son-in-law of GOP State Senator Dan Hall, is a massive underdog this year’s with presidential turnout against Bloomington City Councilman Andrew Carlson, the man he edged out 51-49 in February. DFL operatives have been pulled out of this district in favor of other targets, which means the state party feels it is safely flipped in the blue column.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 64-34

Franken (D) 62-34

Safe D

House B
Obama (D) 57-41

Franken (D) 56-41

Likely D

 

District 51: Burnsville and Eagan. This is really swingy territory in the south metro. It was swept by Republicans in 2010, and swept by Democrats in 2012, yet the leftward trend of the area meant Dems maintained both of the House seats in 2014 (The senate seat wasn’t up). State Senator Jim Carlson, who won two terms in 2006 and 2012, but was part of the aforementioned D losses in 2010, is on the ballot for the 4th time in as many cycles. He faces off against 2014 HD51B GOP candidate Victor Lake, who lost the 2014 primary after no endorsement was given at the district convention. Lake is a 29 year old immigrant from Uzbekistan. Carlson starts out as a clear favorite against the unconventional candidate, but the swingy nature of the district keeps it from being Safe D. Sandra Masin (DFL) has won the last 2 elections for this seat in 2012 and 2014 after losing the 2010 election for it. Masin has drawn retired Minnesota National Guard Staff Sergeant Brad Gerten, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gerten hasn’t gotten as much backing as one would have figured in a district as swingy as this; though the MNGOP is not known to be flush with cash or staffers. MinnPost doesn’t have this race on their radar, though the much more extensive competitive seat list the Strib has includes it. Masin seems to be sitting pretty on the backs of a superior state party apparatus. Not safe by any stretch of the imagination, but Masin is a clear favorite. In the slightly redder 51B, incumbent sophomore Laurie Halverson is trying to win reelection to her purple seat after defeating a GOP incumbent to first win it back in 2012. Representative Halverson is facing off against retired engineer and computer programmer Pat Hammond in November. Halverson has shown to be very much a pro-business New Democrat (she voted against creating MNSure exchange, the only DFLer to do so.) This is as swingy of a district as you’re going to find in the state, but Halverson has already won this seat in much worse conditions against comparable competition. Much like in 51A, the lack of GOP infrastructure is showing through here, which gives Halverson the edge. Because the seat is a few points redder, I give it a Lean D ranking instead of Likely D, but I suspect Halverson will win again.

Senate
Likely D

House A

Obama (D) 55-42

Franken (D) 54-43

Likely D

House B
Obama (D) 51-47

Franken (D) 52-46

Lean D

 

District 52: This is the liberal parts of northern Dakota County that was added to Kline’s district in the 2012 redistricting, moving the needle leftward on its PVI. The Republicans have a small presence at the southern fringe of this district in the southern part of 52B, but this is DFL territory. This district is a lot like District 50, which lies to the northwest. Senate District 52 is officially vacant, as 30 year incumbent DFL Senator James Metzen passed away after a battle with lung cancer in July. As the legislature’s work was done for the year, no special was called. Metzen had already announced his retirement, so there was no change in candidates here following his passing. Democrats got medical doctor and local school board member Matt Klein. Klein is the prohibitive favorite against GOP candidate Mark Misukanis, a professor of political science at a local liberal arts university. Misukanis has the profile to be a strong candidate in a more conservative district, though because of this seat’s strong DFL lean, he hasn’t garnered any attention. Rick Hansen is the DFL incumbent in 52A, and has been since 2004. Republicans nominated 69 year old pro-life activist Larry Sachi to run against Hansen. Hansen has won his last 2 elections by 20 and 25 points. Expect more of the same here. First elected in 2002, Joe Atkins (DFL) has been one of the more conservative members of the caucus relative to his district. The members of his party to his right hail from MUCH redder, generally rural districts. However Atkins is stepping aside after 14 years in office. The race to succeed him is between DFLer Mary T’Kach, and GOPer Regina Barr. T’Kach is a member of the Inver Grove Heights Planning Committee and Planning Commission, and has made a career out of being an energy efficiency advocate/professional. Barr is a financial business consultant and member of the Breast Cancer Education Association. I was set to call this race Lean D based on it only being D+1, the fact that Atkins retired, and relative candidate strength. But Barr, in spite of her presumed business contacts has raised little money and is not considered to be competitive by other prognosticators. So I will leave it at Likely D

Senate
Likely D

House A

Obama (D) 59-39

Franken (D) 57-40

Safe D

House B
Obama (D) 53-45

Franken (D) 51-46

Likely D

 

District 53: Western Woodbury and Maplewood. Maplewood is a very awkwardly shaped city, and the part of it in district 53 is the SW tendril. Maplewood is quite DFL, and Woodbury is slightly Republican leaning. DFL Senator Susan Kent won a tightly contested seat in her first election when she unseated then-GOP incumbent Ted Lillie. Kent is running for reelection for the first time, and will face Republican Sharna Wahlgren. Wahlgren, a lawyer, was last seen in 2014 losing to Congresswoman Betty McCollum 61-33 in MN-4. Wahlgren is generally regarded as one of the stronger suburban Republican challengers this cycle. I give the edge to the incumbent, as it is a D+2 seat, and she is a proven campaigner in a tight race. Wahlgren could be a surprise winner though. DFL Representative Joanne Ward has held 51A since 2012, and is facing Republican businessman Andy Turonie. This half of the didstrict is D+6, and Ward has outperformed the top of the ticket in 2014 and 2012, so she is going to win a 3rd term this fall. 53B is home of former GOP Rep Andrea Kieffer, who was one of the victims of the RINO hunt that followed legalization of gay marriage in Minnesota circa 2013. The woman that replaced her is Republican Kelly Fenton, and she is running for her first reelection this cycle against Democrat Alberder Gillespie. Gillespie serves on the elected local school board, and is a Sunday school teacher and small business owner. Gillespie has a good profile for higher office if she lived in a more liberal district, or were able to run in the more purple Senate district. But with this seat going 52% for both Romney and McFadden, I don’t think she will get it done. I expect Fenton to win.

Senate
Lean D

House A

Obama (D) 56-41

Fanken (D) 56-40

Safe D

House B
Romney (R) 52-47

McFadden (R) 52-46

Likely R

 

District 54: This is another one of the districts where the House seats are very different from one another, with 54A being far more Democratic than 54B. This also is a rare district that has all 3 seats open this cycle. Senator Katie Sieben (DFL) is retiring after a decade in office (likely in a move to set up a 2018 gubernatorial run), leaving her light blue seat open. 51A Representative Dan Schoen (DFL) is looking for a promotion after 4 years in the House. He clearly has the inside track for Sieben’s seat against Republican businesswoman Leiana Holmstadt. This race seems to not be on anyone’s radar as being competitive, in spite of it being open and D+1. Expect Schoen to move up relatively smoothly. 54A is quite decisively DFL friendly and centered around eastern Cottage Grove, and South St Paul (a suburb, not a neighborhood of St. Paul proper). With Shoen leaving this seat open to run for Senate, it will have a new Representative in January. The candidates are Cottage Grove City Councilwoman Jen Peterson (DFL) and St. Paul Park Mayor Keith Franke (R). Franke has the cooler job title, but St. Paul Park has a total of 5000 people, while Cottage Grove is 35000 people. With a 56% Obama and Franken district, Peterson is a strong favorite. 54B is swingy, and carried very narrowly by Obama, and by 4 points by Franken. Representing it is a 14-year incumbent Republican Denny McNamara. McNamara has been quite popular during his tenure, but is opting for retirement than going for an 8th term. Running to replace him is long time DFL official, Vietnam Veteran, and retired oil refinery worker Don Slaten, who ran against McNamara in 2014, losing 61-39. Money has flowed into both camps, and is considered a highly contested and competitive election. If I believed in Toss-up ratings, Id put one here, but I don’t. I will give this race a Tilt D rating based on political trends in this district, but it will be tight.
Senate
Likely D

House A

Obama (D) 56-42

Franken (D) 56

Safe D (Safe D)

House B
Obama (D) 49.15-48.57

Franken (D) 50-46

Tilt D

 

District 55: Scott County. This is mostly Republican territory, but there are some purple dots starting to show up in places like Shakopee (which is most of 55A). The Senate district might be home to the only Djibouti immigrant on the ballot in the country. Ali Ali is running against incumbent Republican Freshman Eric Pratt. Pratt will win handily, but Ali Ali’s name and back story are pretty interesting. The action in 55A is a lot less interesting than it was last cycle. Back then, Bob Loonan ended up winning the GOP primary as a far right Republican against a fringe right Republican, and is a solid lock for reelection against liberal activist Mary Hernandez. Loonan hasn’t made any waves in St. Paul, and in this district he isn’t in danger except perhaps against an A+ challenger, which Hernandez is not. 58B sophomore incumbent Tony Albright has settled nicely into incumbency in his cozy Republican district. He does face Democratic Some Dude(tte) Ceci Haakenson. Expect Albright to win 60-40+.

Senate
Safe R

House A

Romney (R) 52-46

McFadden (R) 51-45

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 60-38

McFadden (R) 58-38

Safe R

 

District 56: Swingy Burnsville and a sliver of Apple Valley to the east (56B) and marginally Republican Savage to the west (56A). The Senate seat is held by sophomore GOP incumbent Dan Hall. Hall is running again against the man the DFL courted for this seat, Apple Valley City Councilman and former State Rep Phil Sterner. Sterner, in spite of him being touted as a “get” has hardly lit the world on fire as a candidate. It could change, as Hall has not shied away from controversy in his tenure, and Sterner is solid wave insurance, but Hall will likely be victorious.  23 year old freshman incumbent Drew Christensen (R) is running for reelection to the oddly similar named and aged Jared Christiansen, a 24 year old college student. Seriously, what is it with this district attracting college age candidates? Regardless, Christensen is the incumbent, and this is a Romney district, and is favored for reeletion. 56B is a district Obama carried by 66 votes in 2012, and will likely be competitive up and down the ticket again this fall. Freshman Roz Peterson faces off against Lindsey Port, a local small business owner, who defeated former Lockport (Illinois) school board member is a contentious primary in August. This seems to be a race that has a lot of attention being paid to it, which, given its close nature, makes sense. I give Peterson the slightest edge, due to incumbency.

Senate
Likely R

House A

Romney (R) 51-47

McFadden (R) 51-46

Likely R

House B
Obama (D) 49.07-48.78

McFadden (R) 49-48

Tilt R

 

District 57: Rosemount and Apple Valley. This is swingy area around Rosemount, and fairly Republican area around Apple Valley. Incumbent DFL Senator Greg Clausen is running for his first reelection this year. His opponent is Republican Cory Campbell, a local Chamber of Commerce official. This is a race that has a lot of attention, and is one of the most sought after DFL-held seats by the Republicans looking to take the chamber. It is going to be really close, but I give the incumbent the small edge in this district Obama won by 2. Tara Mack, literally got caught with her pants down, and it cost her her career as a politician. Both her and Representative Tim Kelly opted not to run for reelection after their… incident. That leaves this 51% Obama seat open. Recruitment in this seat was relatively weak on both sides, and Republicans ended up with 20-something house wife Ali Jimenez-Hopper, and Democrats ended up with nonprofit executive Erin Maye Quade. Word on the ground is that Republicans have all but pulled out of the race entirely, and Jimenez-Hopper has been cut off from funds in triage. Looks like a likely D pick up because Mrs. Mack couldn’t keep her pants on. In the slightly more conservative Apple Valley based 57B, sophomore Anna Wills appears to be well positioned to get a third term against Democrat John Huot, a local realtor. Even though Obama carried this district, Wills seems like a strong favorite

Senate
Tilt D

House A

Obama (D) 51-47

Franken (D) 50-47

Likely D

House B
Obama (D) 49.07-48.78

McFadden (R) 49-48

Likely R

 

District 58: Lakeville and southern Dakota County. This is pretty Republican turf (56% Romney). The senate seat is open with the retirement of GOP State Senator Dave Thompson, who represented the seat since 2010. Democrats got an interesting candidate in incumbent Lakeville mayor Greg Little. Lakeville, like the rest of the seat, is generally pretty Republican, but he has high name recognition and is popular in by far the largest city in the district. Still, Little has a tough row to hoe against retired engineer Tim Pitcher in November.  Both parties are taking this seat seriously, as money and door knockers and yard signs and tv ads(!!!) are absolutely pouring into both camps. Quite the site in an R+8 seat. In the Lakeville based 58A freshman GOPer Jon Koznick is a prohibitive favorite against 1st grade teacher LeAnn Weikle. Regardless, this district is quite red, and Koznick will win. Pat Garafalo has represented Farmington in the House since 2004, and will continue to do so until at least 2019. First he has to beat Marla Vagts, a local lawyer. Vagst has a decent profile, but Garafalo isn’t going to lose.

Senate
Lean R

House A

Romney (R) 56-42

McFadden (R) 56-41

Safe R

House B
Romney (R) 56-42

McFadden (R) 53-43

Safe R

 

Districts 59-63. These seats are all Minneapolis, and all are going to go 70-30 DFL+. I will keep the segments brief unless there is something important involving the DFL primary

District 59: This is the north side of Minneapolis, home of Keith Ellison, and the closest thing to a majority Minority district you can get in the state. The Senate seat is occupied by Freshman Bobby Joe Champion, who served in the House prior to his 2016 election. Champion is running again. 59A incumbent Joe Mullery, who has served North Minneapolis in the House since 1997 was actually challenged by a Hmong refugee who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand before immigrating to the US, Fue Lee. Lee unseated Mullery in the primary 56-44, and will be a freshman Rep. in January. 59B Representative Raymond Dehn is running for reelection.
Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 84-14

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 80-17

Safe D

 

District 60: This district covers Northeast Minneapolis the U of M campus (and its 51,000 students), and a small sliver into Cedar-Riverside, and its large Somali community. Senator Kari Dziedzic was first election in a special election in 2012, and is running again and faces only a Legalize Marijuna Now Party challenger. No Republican filed in 60A against incumbent Diane Loeffler, but an independent did. That doesn’t matter against Loeffler though. After many cycles of primary challenges against 46 year incumbent Phyllis Kahn, the Somali community finally unseated her. The primary was won by a member of the Somali community that could bridge the gap with the University of Minnesota portion of the district with University alum and employee Ihlan Omar. Omar will be the first Somali American member of the state legislature after November.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 77-19

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 76-19

Safe D

 

District 61: This is Southwest Minneapolis, which is the most affluent area in the city. Minneapolis is known as the City of Lakes, and this district holds more than its fair share, and the homes on the lakes are rather palatial. This doesn’t mean they are any more conservative than the poorer parts of the city, as this is as Democratic as the poverty stricken 59th district. Senator Scott Dibble is running for another term. Representative Frank Hornstein is running for reelection, as is foirmer Speaker Paul Thissen in 60B. Thissen would become Speaker again if Dems take the chamber, as he is currently Minority Leader.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 78-19

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 78-20

Safe D

 

District 62: This is a combination of Hipsters on the western side of the district, diverse areas in the center and south, and college students on the Northern edge. This is the most Democratic, most liberal, and most politically homogenous district in the entire state. Senator Jeff Hayden, Representative Karen Clark, and Representative Susan Allen are all running for reelection. Hayden had a semi-serious primary challenger from the Somali community, but without nearly the numbers in 62, Hayden won with 73%. Allen didn’t even garner a challenger of any type.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 86-9

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 87-10

Safe D

 

District 63: This is South Minneapolis, running from Downtown to the Airport. Incumbents Patricia Torress Ray (63), Jim Davnie (63A), and Jean Wagenius (63B) are all returning for more time in St. Paul.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 83-14

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 74-24

Safe D

 

Districts 64-67: This is essentially St. Paul. Again, much like in Minneapolis, all of these seats are 100% Safe DFL, and will be won by blowout margins.

District 64: This is what is known as the West Side of St. Paul. It has many different pockets of different groups, far too many to try and mention here. Senator Dick Cohen is running again after 30 years in the Senate so far. Incumbent Representatives Erin Murphy (64A) and Dave Pinto (64B) are both back for more as well.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 77-20

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 70-27

Safe D

 

District 65: This is Downtown St. Paul, and some surrounding areas. Senator Sandy Pappas is back for more time representing the State Capital. Representatives Rena Moran (65A) and Carlos Mariani (65B) are running again. Moran had a primary and won with 79% of the vote.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 83-14

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 77-20

Safe D

 

District 66: This is the northern edge of St. Paul, and includes the State Fair Grounds, and a tiny sliver of Roseville to balance population. Senator John Marty actually lives in the sliver of Roseville, but has represented various forms of this district since 1986, and will continue to do so. Alice Hausman (66A) and John Lesch (66B) will be reelected to their House seats easily.

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 66-32

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 79-19

Safe D

 

District 67: This is the eastern part of St. Paul. Senator Foung Hawj will win election to a second term after winning the clown car primary for this seat in 2012. Tim Mahoney and Sheldon Johnson have represented eastern St. Paul in the House since the 1990s, and both are running for another term this year. Johnson has a Republican and a Libertarian on the ballot against him

Senate
Safe D

House A

Obama (D) 76-22

Safe D
House B

Obama (D) 74-23

Safe D

Political Roundup for September 19, 2016

Avast ye mateys, we be plundering me news feed’s briny depths for more stories than ye land-lubbers will find in Davy Jones’ Locker. But before ye scallywags set sail on readin’ today’s booty of news ye best be readin’ our  account of which Senate seats be walkin’ the plank this year.

President:

Debates: Unsurprisingly, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have officially been excluded from the debates by the presidential debate commission for failing to meet the 15% polling requirement. The first debate is a week from today; we will have a liveblog.

Bob Gates: The former W and Obama SecDef has blasted both Trump and Clinton on national security issues.

Senate:

National: Politico summarizes with concrete data what we had been reading from tea leaves for a few days now: there is a large-scale shift in DSCC funds underway. Getting triaged are ex-Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in Ohio and Rep. Fratrick Murphy (D) in Florida. The beneficiaries of that triage are Indiana, where ex-Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D) poll numbers seem to be fading amid Republican attacks and his own stumbles over his loose ties to the state, and Missouri and North Carolina, where Democrats are attempting to expand the map with SoS Jason Kander (D) and ex-State Rep. Deborah Ross (D) respectively.

MO-Sen: And this ad may play a part in why the funds are moving here, as this spot from SoS Jason Kander (D) merits inclusion among the more effective ones this year. Kander assembles an AR-15 rifle blindfolded while talking about his military service and his support for background checks. The ad does a good job of both introducing Kander and striking some moderate themes, and is probably a key reason why Democrats seem to be looking to this race as their most attractive expand-the-map opportunity. Kander is still a moderate underdog to incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt (R) in this light-red state.

OH-Sen: As if we needed more proof that ex-Gov. Ted Strickland’s (D) campaign against Sen. Rob Portman (R) was circling the drain, we now know that Strickland’s campaign is cancelling $1M in its own TV buys, on top of the massive reductions in outside D spending in this race. Strickland’s campaign has retrenched its ads to just Cleveland and Cincinnati, leaving large chunks of the state such as Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo uncovered. With the corresponding reduction in outside D spending, it looks like a large number of Ohioans may only see Portman ads from here on out.

PA-Sen: Regular readers of this site won’t find a lot new in this article, but this is still a worthwhile piece on how Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) support for expanded background checks have blurred the usual lines over gun control in his race against 2014 gubernatorial candidate Katie McGinty (D). Toomey has received outside support from gun-control groups, including those of Michael Bloomberg and Gabrielle Giffords, that rarely back Republicans, which could be a significant help in his razor-tight race.

House:

AZ-5: State Senate President Andy Biggs (R), a favorite of antiestablishment movement conservatives like the Club for Growth, has officially won the primary for this safe seat in the Mesa area. Biggs prevailed by a margin of 27 votes over 2014 gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones (R) after a recount; Jones officially conceded late Friday.

CA-7: The Justice department has announced that it will not charge Rep. Ami Bera (D) or any other members of his campaign with election fraud in the case of Bera’s father. Bera’s father has been sentenced to a year in prison for using straw donors to illegally funnel money to his son’s campaigns. The senior Bera says it was done without his son’s knowledge, and apparently Justice believes him – whether that will prove plausible to voters in Bera’s tough re-election fight against Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones (R) in this purple suburban seat is another matter.

CA-24: Santa Barbara County commissioner Salud Carbajal (D) is apologizing for calling the city of Lompoc (pop. 40K) the “armpit” of Santa Barbara County, saying the remark was made in jest. Carbajal is facing congressional staffer Justin Fareed (R) in a competitive race for this light-blue district.

IL-12: The campaign of attorney CJ Baricevic (D) against Rep. Mike Bost (R) in this purple district covering most of Illinois’s St. Louis suburbs is a long-shot but still on-the-board race, in part due to the fact that Baricevic has fundraised reasonably well. However, there are some questions about where he’s getting his money. A lot of Baricevic’s contributions have come from the legal community… and more specifically, from firms who argue in the court of Baricevic’s father, John, who serves as chief judge for a local circuit in the St. Louis suburbs. The legal community has been unusually promiscuous donors to Baricevic, including max-out donations from people who would on the surface have no business being major campaign donors, such as secretaries, receptionists, and paralegals at local law firms. There’s no fire here, but there’s sure as heck a lot of smoke that there may be some sort of straw-donor and/or pay-to-play scheme afoot here. Most likely if anything unfolds we won’t know about it until after the election, but this is some seriously shady stuff that we will likely be hearing a lot more about if Baricevic manages to pull the upset over Bost this November.

Governor, State, & Local:

WI-Gov ’18: Gov. Scott Walker says he is “preparing” to start raising funds for a 2018 third-term bid, the clearest signal so far that he may be serious about seeking re-election. Should Walker reverse course and retire both sides will have crowded fields for this race.

NC-Treas: North Carolina’s State Treasurer office has given the family law firm of Dan Blue III (D), currently a candidate for the office, $180K in work on bond-issuing projects over the last eight years. The business raises conflict-of-interest questions as Blue’s father is the State Senate Dem leader. Blue says he will not do business with his own firm if he wins his face against ex-State Rep. Dale Folwell (R).

WA-Aud: An interesting issue far from the obvious debates of a State Auditor race is coming to the forefront in the race between State Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) and Pierce CE Pat McCarthy (D): homelessness. Miloscia has made forming the way the state deals with the homeless population, particularly his opposition to safe-haven sites for drug-users to inject, a major plank of his campaign, and is criticizing McCarthy for an increase in homelessness in her county. For her part, McCarthy is mostly dismissing the issue as beyond the purview of the government-watchdog post.

WA-LG: State Sen. Cyrus Habib (D) is the clear front-runner to become LG over talk radio host Marty McClendon (R), and this article explores part of the reason why: Habib has fundraised very well, but about half of his haul has come from out of state (unusual for a low-profile race) thanks to a nationwide network of Iranian-American groups.

WA-Supt: Media firestorm alert! A convoluted case of the identity-politics left eating their own seems to be underway with the campaign of school administrator Erin Jones (D) for Washington State Superintendent. An alternative weekly in Seattle has rescinded its endorsement of Jones after she apparently characterized being gay as a choice; Jones disputes the characterization, but the charges seem to have done lasting damage with her on the far-left. To make things weirder, the alternative weekly basically admitted that it only initially endorsed Jones over her rival, fellow mainstream liberal State Rep. Chris Reykdal (D), because she is black.

AZ-Treas ’18: State Public Service Commissioner Tom Forese (R) has already announced he will forgo running for a new four-year term on the 5-member body in 2018 and throw his hat into the open State Treasurer race. Incumbent Jeff DeWit (R), a top Trump campaign official, has announced he will not be seeking a second term.

OK-Treas ’18: State Auditor Gary Jones (R), who will be termed-out in 2018, is exploring playing Musical Chairs and running for State Treasurer. With all of Oklahoma’s (Republican) Row Officers save one terming out in 2018 expect some serious Musical Chairs or competitive primary action here next cycle.

MN-LD-37B: Nolan West (R), a legislative staffer, has resigned and dropped his bid for this R+2 district around Blaine in the Twin Cities’ northern suburbs after his racist Facebook posts from several years ago were uncovered.

GA-Hendry-DA: Now here’s a candidate who might get the award for least political courage: Matt McCord (R), the GOP nominee for DA in Henry County, a large R+4 (but trending hard left) county of 200K in the southeast Atlanta exurbs, has dropped out of the race. McCord says that $91K in cash from George Soros to his opponent, prosecutor Darius Patillo (D), made his win impossible and he was afraid of personal attacks on his family and negative campaigning. Patillo, who has championed liberal sentencing-reform proposals, will now win unopposed.

International:

Russia: To no one’s surprise, Putin’s United Russia party and its three puppet “opposition” parties have secured the vast majority, if not all, of the seats in Russia’s parliament in this weekend’s “election”.

Political Roundup for September 9, 2016

President:

Clinton fundraising: Priorities USA, the main Super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, took in $21.7 million in August, its best month of fundraising so far. It has now raised $161 million total for the cycle and has reserved more than $150 million in TV and digital advertising.

Trump fundraising: Trump’s various campaign and fundraising committees reported finishing August with $97 million in the bank. That represents improved fundraising numbers, but well short of the $143 million the Clinton campaign has raised. However, it’s not clear what the Trump campaign will do with the money as they have not spent very much money on paid advertising so far.

Trump staffers: Many of the policy staffers who were working in the Trump campaign’s Washington office have quit working for the campaign after not being paid or publicly recognized. They were apparently told they would be paid when Corey Lewandowski was campaign manager, but were later told they would remain unpaid when Paul Manafort took over. Some of the people working in the office were said to be treating it like a full-time job and were shocked to find out they wouldn’t be paid. There are still staffers remaining in the office who are working on a volunteer basis.

Senate:

Senate GOP: Senate Republicans are leaning on House Speaker Paul Ryan to help campaign for Republican Senate candidates. Right now he says he has plans to campaign for Rep. Todd Young (R) in Indiana and Sen. Rob Portman (R) in Ohio. He has also campaigned with home state Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and is thought to be planning to go to Pennsylvania to campaign for Sen. Pat Toomey (R).

VA-Sen 2017?: If Sen. Tim Kaine (D) is elected Vice President in November, Rep. Bobby Scott (D) appears to be the odds on favorite to get the interim appointment to replace him and run in a November special election. Scott was the first black congressman from Virginia since the 19th century and would be the state’s first black senator. That history making status gives him the “right of first refusal” according to some. But the fact that Scott has never faced a competitive race in his heavily black district and thus has never had to fundraise very much has some questioning the wisdom of giving him the appointment. Rep. Don Beyer (D), who is also a former LG and has thus run statewide before also may be strongly considered.

House:

NRCC: NRCC chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R) says he is “very confident” that Republicans will maintain their majority in November, brushing aside concerns about Donald Trump dragging candidates down. He says Republican House candidates have their own following aside from Trump, and released figures from an August NRCC poll of the 24 most competitive House districts which showed Republicans with a 3 point lead on the generic ballot while Trump trailed by 2 points. He also said Republican candidates lead by 10 points in head-to-head matchups in those districts.

FL-23: Tim Canova is wasting no time in planning a primary rematch against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) in 2018. Canova, who lost 57%-43% to the incumbent last week has already filed a statement of candidacy for the 2018 race.

Governor/State & Local:

IN-Gov: Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb (R) entered the race as the replacement for Gov. Mike Pence (R) with only $20,000 in his campaign account, compared to $5 million for John Gregg (D). He planned to get a large portion of the money in Pence’s account, but was only able to take a small amount of it due to rules that apparently took the campaign by surprise. Since the start of his campaign though, his fundraising has ramped up, raising $4.2 million in large contributions, compared to $785,000 for Gregg. But the late start with fundraising kept Holcomb from getting any commercials on the air for the first 30 days of his campaign, which is a problem because of his low name recognition and the short nature of the campaign.

IL-Gov. 2018: Rep. Cheri Bustos (D) is being talked up as a possible candidate for governor in 2018 if Sen. Dick Durbin (D) decides not to run. Bustos’s Republican challenger this year is calling for her to sign a pledge that she will not run for governor in 2018 and demands that she withdraws her candidacy for re-election to Congress if she does not.

MN-HD-32B: State Rep. Bob Barrett (R) has been thrown off the November ballot by the state Surpeme Court because he was found to not be living in the district. Instead of there being no Republican candidate and the DFL candidate winning by default however, because the vacancy occurred 80 days prior to the election the results of the November election have been nullified and a special election scheduled for February 14. If the DFL picks up 6 seats in November, the special election could determine control of the House.

Political Roundup for August 10th, 2016

About last night

Elections junkies followed a series of primaries last night.

  • In WI-1, Speaker Paul Ryan crushed his Trumpista challenger Paul Nehlen with just shy of 85% of the vote. This ended up being much ado about nothing, eh? (And yet, the media will continue to cover it like it was something).
  • In WI-8, Mike Gallagher (R) easily defeated State Sen. Frank Lasee with 75%; this seat is currently ranked Lean Republican in the general election..
  • In MN-2, former radio broadcaster Jason Lewis (R) crossed 50% to defeat businesswoman Darlene Miller and former State Sen. John Howe; this seat is currently ranked Lean Democrat and anticipated to flip parties in November.
  • In VT-Gov, the moderate Lt. Gov Phil Scott (R) defeated hedge-funder Bruce Lisman, while establishment Democrat Sue Minter rose above two more progressive candidates to clinch her party’s nod. We rate this open seat Lean Democrat.
  • In VT-Lt. Gov, moonbat and Bernie Sanders-endorsed candidate David Zuckerman (D) won the Democratic nod. He will face former State Auditor Randy Brock in this (currently) Lean Democrat race.

Remember, sometimes we have to hedge our bets when rating these races depending on the candidate. Primaries are a great occasion to revisit ratings, so keep an eye out for changes to some of these.

President

GA-Pres, AZ-Pres: The Clinton campaign is transferring sums in the six figures to the Arizona and Georgia Democratic parties toward hiring field staff in both states. Neither is a huge outlay, considering how expensive good field programs can be, but the fact is Trump cannot really answer any of the Clinton campaign’s moves with its budget.

Lieberman: The former Connecticut Senator is considering an endorsement of Trump. Apparently he is still working with Jon Huntsman (the former Utah Governor and also a Trump supporter) on No Labels, which is apparently still a thing. Huh.

Senate

TX-Sen-18: Sen. Ted Cruz is doubling down on his own home state visits in the wake of his presidential bid and rumors of a challenger (perhaps like Rep. Michael McCaul) necessitating the need to shore up his own base.

NC-Sen: Roll Call points out how the changing environment in North Carolina (Trump + HB 2) is making this race a more competitive race than expected. They have downgraded Sen. Burr’s chances from Lean Republican to Tilt Republican.

IN-Sen: When you’re out front by 20 points, you do what you want (I know, run scared or run unopposed, but let’s not tell Bayh that. Mmkay?). Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D) is cash flush with a moderate image and name ID his opponent can’t match. Still, Bayh will realistically have to pull in some Trump voters to win, which means stressing opposition to trade deals, the Iranian nuclear deal, and even laying off Trump himself. The money line is from Bayh’s campaign manager, who says they will give a “permission slip” to Republican voters to crossover for Bayh. With big buys incoming to tarnish Bayh’s present image, he’ll need to sign a lot of those slips.

House

MI-8: As expected, Melissa Gilbert has officially requested removal from the ballot for medical reasons after she received an order from her doctor. Democrats will replace their erstwhile nominee here with Macomb County assistant prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli.

MN-2: A map of last night’s Republican primary by precinct. Howe did well on his own home turf, but Miller interestingly overperformed around Northfield.

MN-8: An anti-mining resolution being pushed at a DFL party meeting this weekend highlights the divide on this issue between urban environmentalist activists and traditional aging Iron Range union Democrats. While Rep. Rick Nolan opposes the resolution, the real brouhaha will follow if it actually passes.

PA-16: Another “let’s look at this competitive House race through the lens of Trump and the presidential race!” piece. This time it describes how a visit by Indiana Gov. and Trump runningmate Mike Pence intersected with the race to succeed Rep. Joe Pitts. State Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R) faces Christina Hartmann (D) in November; we rate this open seat race Likely Republican.

State and Local

MN-Leg: It’s worth noting the Republican party endorsement (which seemed to matter more in such a low turnout environment) held in every contested primary in the state, with two incumbents even going down (Sen. Sean Nienow lost to Mark Koran, and Rep. Tom Hackbarth to Cal Bahr). Democrats took the chance to clean out their backbenchers, with longest-serving Rep. Phyllis Kahn finally going down to Ilhan Omar, a young female activist who will be the first Somali-American state legislator, and Hmong activist Fue Lee defeated Rep. Joe Mullery. Finally, Speaker Kurt Daudt cruised to victory against a Tea Party-backed challenger.

 

August 9 Primary Preview: VT, WI, MN, & CT

Four more states are going to the polls this Tuesday, though this week doesn’t have quite as much action as last week. Poll closing times are as follows in ET:  7 – Vermont || 8 – Connecticut || 9 – Minnesota & Wisconsin. Our liveblog will start at 7p ET. Click Here for legislative primary previews!

Vermont:

VT-Gov (R, D): Both sides have primaries for this open seat. LG Phil Scott (R) looks like the clear front-runner for the GOP nod. A three-term LG, Scott has carved out a profile as a moderate in a state that still has a major soft spot for moderate Rs and remains broadly popular. He is also a strong candidate who has won two easy re-election victories statewide in spite of the tough terrain. As a result, he has coalesced GOP establishment support. However, he faces a serious challenge from self-funding investor Bruce Lisman (R). Lisman is somewhat more conservative than Scott (though he’d probably still be classified as a moderate anywhere outside New England) and has proven a competent candidate. He has released ads hitting Scott for being an insider and allegedly using connections to benefit his companies. Due to Scott’s popularity, Lisman is still the clear underdog though. Three Democrats are running; surprisingly for such a blue state, all would qualify as “B” to “C” listers as most of the VTDP’s large roster of bigger names stayed out of the race. Of the three candidates, ex-State Rep. and Gov. Shumlin admin official Sue Minter (D) looks like a slight front-runner. Minter is an establishment liberal and something close to Generic D. She has the support of most of the VTDP’s big names; however, she is not beloved by the base and faces two more progressive candidates. The more serious moonbat candidate is ex-State Sen. and 2010 Gov candidate Matt Dunne (D), who became an executive at Google after leaving the legislature. Dunne, a standard-issue moonbat, has most labor support and could tap into the VTDP’s huge progressive base. But Dunne has been hurt by the presence in the race of another progressive candidate, who seems likely to divide the vote enough to allow Minter to win. Dunne has also not done himself any favors with a series of strange moves in the last week, abruptly flip-flopping on whether towns should get a NIMBY veto on windmills and self-funding $100K after pledging not to for the entire campaign. Those moves could cause Dunne to bleed support to the other moonbat in the race, ex-State Sen. Peter Galbraith (D), who was also Ambassador to Croatia under Bill Clinton. Galbraith is a far-left candidate, even by Vermont standards, which gives him a base. However, he has had the reputation in the legislature of a gadfly and hasn’t received a lot of institutional support. Polling has shown Minter with a slight lead on Dunne and Galbraith far back, so it looks like either Minter or Dunne have a chance to win. The general is certain to be competitive; while the terrain of the state strongly favors Democrats, Republicans are near-certain to put up a significantly stronger candidate than Dems. A third wild-card in the general election is retired Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee (I), running as an independent far-left candidate. Lee isn’t running a serious campaign but may have enough name rec to draw a few percent of the vote. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D.

VT-LG (D): Democrats have a primary for Scott’s open seat with three candidates; the LG is elected totally separately from the Governor in VT. State Sen. David Zuckerman (D) now looks like the front-runner after he received a late endorsement from Bernie. Zuckerman switched parties from the capital-P Progressives (a far-left third party active only in Vermont) to run here. He is as much of an all-around moonbat as you’d expect, left-wing even by Vermont standards, and has significant liberal grassroots support. Zuckerman’s main rival is State House Speaker Shap Smith (D), an establishment liberal. Smith entered the race late, dropping down from a Gov bid due to family issues, but coalesced most establishment support. However, he isn’t beloved by the progressive base due to his complicity in the implosion of the ShumlinCare single-payer system. If the BernieBros don’t turn out for this primary Smith could easily win on establishment support. Finally, State Rep. Kesha Ram (D) is also a moonbat, though only far-left instead of Zuckerman’s ultra-left position. She has also received some buzz for her multi-racial background (her father is an Indian immigrant). Ram is running a serious campaign, but losing out on both Smith’s establishment support and Zuckerman’s Bernie’s endorsement likely leaves her to finish third. However, this race hasn’t seen any polls and it is fluid enough that there could be a surprise. The primary winner will take on ex-State Auditor and 2012 Gov nominee Randy Brock (R), who is considered a relatively strong candidate but faces very uphill terrain in the deep-blue state. However, if Scott wins the Gov race, he may have coattails that bring in Brock too (especially against a polarizing figure like Zuckerman). RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D.

Other Races: The other statewide races in VT aren’t of much interest. VT-Sen will see longtime incumbent Patrick Leahy (D) easily re-elected to an eighth term over 2014 Gov nominee Scott Milne (R), who performed surprisingly well in his last run but seems unlikely to catch lightning in a bottle twice. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. VT-AG is technically an open seat, but Chittenden County DA TJ Donovan (D) is a quasi-incumbent as he almost won the seat in a 2012 primary. Donovan will face attorney Deborah Bucknam (R) and starts as the heavy favorite. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Likely D, but that may be generous to Bucknam. VT-SoS incumbent Jim Condos (D) faces no major-party oppositon; RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. VT-Treas incumbent Beth Pearce (D) faces token primary opposition and no major-party opposition in the general; RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. Finally, VT-Aud incumbent Doug Hofer (D) faces token opposition from 2014 Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Dan Feliciano (R). RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. 

Wisconsin:

WI-1 (R): The R+3 district of Speaker Paul Ryan (R) is based in the Kenosha/Racine area and includes the southern suburbs of Milwaukee, stretching west to Ryan’s (Dem-friendly) hometown of Janesville. If you’re reading this site, you probably realize that Ryan earned the ire of Trump’s most hardcore fans when he hesitated to endorse the Donald. That frustration has translated into Trumpkin support for businessman Paul Nehlen (R), who is running a nearly single issue campaign on supporting Trump and has received support from pro-Trump grassroots conservatives nationwide. But as Trump supporters have not proven a strong force in non-presidential primaries and Ryan is broadly popular with most conservatives, it’s unlikely Nehlen’s challenge will amount to much. Polling has consistently shown Ryan stomping Nehlen by a large margin. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

WI-8 (R): This open R+2 seat covers roughly the northeast quarter of the state, but most of its population is in the Fox Valley around Green Bay and Appleton. Republicans have a primary between two serious candidates. Gov. Walker aide Mike Gallagher (R) looks like a strong front-runner. Gallagher, a veteran, has benefited from Walker’s network to fundraise very well. He has also coalesced most establishment support, including the endorsement of retiring Rep. Reid Ribble (R). However, he does face one credible opponent in State Sen. Frank Lasee (R). Lasee is known as an antiestablishment conservative, and regarded as a somewhat weak candidate. While he has had acceptable if mediocre fundraising, he doesn’t seem to be drawing a lot of outside support and looks like the clear underdog to Gallagher. The primary winner will head on to a difficult general election as Democrats are seriously targeting this seat with Outagamie CE Tom Nelson (D). Nelson is considered a strong candidate (he was widely believed to be exploring a Gov run in 2018 before this seat opened up) and the general is sure to be hard-fought. For now Republicans look like slight favorites to hold the seat due to the area’s GOP heritage, but Nelson’s odds might go up slightly if Lasee were to be nominated. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean R.

Other Races: Two other Wisconsin races are competitive. WI-Sen will see a rematch of the 2010 contest between ex-Sen. Russ Feingold (D) and the man who beat him in 2010, Sen. Ron Johnson (R). Feingold has a moderate lead in most polling but the race is still very competitive. RRH Elections currently rates this general elections as Lean D. WI-7 is a purple seat covering most of the northwest quarter of the state. Three-term incumbent Sean Duffy (R) has been a Dem target in past years but has proven a strong candidate. This year he faces Marathon County supervisor Joel Lewis (D), who should prevail over token primary opposition this week. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Likely R.

Minnesota:

MN-2 (R): This open R+2 seat is essentially coextensive with the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Outside of two seats (FL-10 and VA-4) that are all but in the bag due to re-redistricting, this is looking likely to be Democrats’ single easiest House pickup this year. Businesswoman Angie Craig (D) has proven a strong candidate; aided by self-funding, she has raised an astronomical amount for this race and cleared the primary field. She also seems to have scared many “A” list Republicans away too, as the GOP has a primary between three “C” listers. The GOP convention endorsement (a big deal in MN as it comes with institutional support) went to talk radio host Jason Lewis (R). Lewis has a long history of inflammatory statements from his radio show, which his rivals have not hesitated to re-play. However, his show has given him name recognition and pull with the grassroots conservative base, which was enough to win him the convention endorsement and make him the favorite for the nomination. Businesswoman Darlene Miller (R) seems to be Lewis’s major competition; a more establishment-flavored conservative, she has the backing of retiring Rep. John Kline (R), which could give her a base to win. Miller is widely considered the only candidate with a decent shot at keeping this seat in GOP hands. However, going up against the formidable power of the endorsement and Lewis’s conservative base will be difficult for her without an established network of her own. Finally, ex-State Sen. John Howe (R) was initially thought to be a factor in the race, but he has essentially shut down his campaign in recent weeks. That will probably not disappoint many people; Howe, who is somewhat antiestablishment-friendly (though less so than Lewis), is considered a weak candidate as he lost his seat as Romney was winning it in 2012. He is likely to finish a distant third but may still draw some votes in the exurban southern part of the district on name rec. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D.

Other Races: Two other Minnesota House races are competitive. MN-3 is a purple but historically-R seat covering Minneapolis’s western suburbs. Four-term incumbent Erik Paulsen (R) is facing his toughest challenge in years from State Sen. Terri Bonoff (D). RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean R. MN-8 is a purple seat based around Duluth and covering the northeast quarter of the state. Incumbent Rick Nolan (D) is seeking a sixth non-consecutive term in a rematch of his close race with 2014 nominee Stewart Mills (R). RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D. I should also mention a race that now looks to have been misrated: while we had the medium-red MN-7 on the board at Likely D as of June, it’s become clear since that neither of the two GOP Some Dudes are running a serious campaign against 26-year incumbent Collin Peterson (D). Despite being in the most Republican seat held by a Dem, it looks like a safe bet that this will not be the year Peterson’s luck runs out.

Connecticut:

Owing to the state’s convention system, which serves as a gatekeeper to the primary ballot, Connecticut doesn’t have any major primaries. However, two races are at least worth a mention. CT-Sen incumbent Richard Blumenthal (D) will see an easy ride to a second term over State Rep. Dan Carter (R), a generic backbench legislator who won’t pose any threat to the wealthy Blumenthal in the blue state. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe D. CT-4 is a medium-blue district along the wealthy Gold Coast of Fairfield County in the southwest part of the state. Four-term incumbent Jim Himes (D) faces a credible-on-paper challenger in State Rep. John Shaban (R), but Shaban’s fundraising has been poor and this race looks likely to slip off the playing field soon. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Likely D.

Click Here for legislative primary previews!

Political Roundup for August 2nd, 2016

Reminder that we have primaries in Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, and Washington tonight. Come back for our liveblog at 8p ET, and reread our previews of all the races right here.

President

Trump: The Republican nominee’s fundraising struggles are bad enough that we could see real consequences on the results.

Some scenarios that experienced Republican hands are starting to consider: States where Hillary Clinton has dozens of extra campaign offices versus Trump — or an extra 100 staffers. Or where teams do not have enough warm bodies to keep pace during early voting. Or where field organizers have to deputize volunteers to handle what is traditionally done by paid professionals. Or where aides have to effectively ignore media markets beyond the major cities since the bank account dipped so low.

The field aspect is particularly interesting. Normally field efforts from rival campaigns kind of neutralize each other and are drowned out by the noise of other ground efforts in the field. However, in some places the lack of a Trump presence at all and diminished size of the RNC Victory program mean us nerds can see the real true impact of field without much outside interference. Nice for political science, bad for Republicans.

Cruz: In the wake of his call for Republicans to vote their conscience. it has now become clear that Sen. Ted Cruz’s donor problems extend much further than the generous Mercer family.

Stein / Turner: Former Ohio State Sen. and Bernie Sanders surrogate Nina Turner (D -> G?) has been offered a spot on the Green Party ticket and is considering taking the nomination. Stein and the Greens have been desperate to get some of the Bernie Bros’ enthusiasm to rub off on their long-declining minor party, degraded by years of infighting with supporters of Ralph Nader and some inept national campaigns.

Senate

PA-Sen: Billionaire gun control enthusiast and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) may be practically a Democrat, but he still endorses the token Republican. His latest endorsement goes to Sen. Pat Toomey (R), who sponsored legislation that would have expanded background checks to buy guns. We’ll see what kind of outside money (if any) Bloomberg puts in to help Toomey though, and if the ads are on salient issues (ie, not gun control). If this is just the Bloomberg name, well, that’s not very useful.

KY-Sen-20: As of now, Sen. Mitch McConnell says there is a “great likelihood” he will run for reelection way out in 2020. Of course, his continued relevance and position as Majority Leader kind of requires him to say that, and four years is a long time to reconsider.

Governor

MO-Gov: An interesting read from Politico on the Missouri gubernatorial race with a focus on former Speaker Catherine Hanaway (R) and the effect of Ferguson on her four-way primary. The tone and wording of the piece are a little too strident in how it portrays the resulting protests, but the reporting itself is detailed.

House

KS-1: Another preview of today’s hottest House primary between Rep. Tim Huelskamp and physician Roger Marshall. Huelskamp made a lot of enemies in the process of earning enough ire from then-Speaker Boehner to get kicked off the Ag committee, which has led to a whole host of groups to oppose him.

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Kansas Farm Bureau
  • Livestock Association
  • National Sorghum Producers
  • Ending Spending Action Fund (ie, the Ricketts family)

A lot of the spending in this race is happening through outside groups, and Huelskamp has his own allies (chief among them the Club for Growth). Still, that’s a lot of heavy hitters to focus on an incumbent.

MN-2: Oooh boy. This primary between party-endorsed former radio host Jason Lewis (R) and businesswoman Darlene Miller is getting bitter. Miller’s camp is throwing the kitchen sink at Lewis, going after him for defending secession, supporting the idea that states should be free to legalize heroin, and supporting the Iran deal (yeah, Lewis is a bit libertarian). Meanwhile, Lewis allies in the local party have censured a pair of legislative Miller endorsers (State Reps. Pat Garofalo and Drew Christiansen) for breaking the endorsement, and the campaign claims Miller is basically a Democrat for being on Obama’s nonpartisan jobs council and receiving accolades from the Clinton Global Initiative. Meanwhile, former State Sen. John Howe receives the Star Tribune endorsement as the negative attacks fly between the other two candidates. The primary is next Tuesday.

WI-1: What’s Speaker Paul Ryan’s reward for playing ball and supporting the Republican nominee at the RNC? Why, praise from said nominee for his primary opponent back home, Paul Nehlen, of course. Trump’s grudges never die. Like Minnesota, Wisconsin’s primary is next Tuesday.

State and Local

MN-Leg: OGGoldy is out with his preview of state legislative races in Greater Minnesota before the primary (metro is forthcoming). As a former Minnesota Republican myself, I can vouch for their general accuracy- it’s a must read!

Redistricting

TX-Redistrict: Tired of waiting for their long-shelved redistricting lawsuit to proceed, lawyers are asking for a schedule to ensure a ruling drops in time to actually matter for even the 2018 elections.