Republican Legislative Majorities Require a Statewide Leader

With the prognostication about the potential legislative majority shift we thought an analysis of past elections could prove this hill to be quite steep for House Republicans. The principle reason is the lack of a strong candidate at the top of the ticket driving turnout. We contend the opportunity for capturing the House Majority correlates with the statewide Federal races or lack thereof. Every 12 years Minnesota elections have no federal candidates Presidential or for statewide office.

Partisan legislative elections started in 1974. Since then Republicans have captured the House Majority only three times in 1984, 1998 and 2010. Only in 1984 was there a statewide federal contest. The 1984 election featured, the reelection of Ronald Reagan (R) over favorite son former Vice-President Walter Mondale (D), though Mondale carried the state, the reelection of US Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R) over Joan Growe (D) and Republicans gained control of the House majority for the first time in state history 69-65. The DFL regain Majority in 1986 when no federal candidate appeared on the ballot. Their majority was 83-51 votes.

In 1998, there was no federal candidate for office, but there was a third party gubernatorial candidate.  The election of Jesse Ventura (RP) as Governor fostered an anti-incumbent sentiment, and helped sweep Republicans to regain the House Majority. This time their majority was 71-63 seats.

In 2000, ultimately the major national issue was the Florida recount between Governor George W. Bush (R-TX) and Vice-President Al Gore (D). Gore carried our state by a very small margin of 1,168,266 votes or 49.53% over Bush with 1,067,246 or 47.34%. Mark Dayton (D) defeated US Senator Rod Grams (R) 1,181,553 or 48.83% to 1,047,474 or 43.29% and House Republicans maintained their House Majority 69 to 65.

In 2010, once again there was no statewide federal election which resulted in Mark Dayton (D) being elected Governor defeating Rep. Tom Emmer (R) 919,232 or 43.63% to 910,462 or 43.21% and Republican control of the House 72 to 62.

When Republicans gained control the first time in 1998, they held control until the 2006 election. This meant they retained control during a federal statewide election. The 2002 election was the second reelection for US Senator Paul Wellstone (D), but with his untimely death on October 25th, the political landscape changed dramatically. With the hubbub over politicization of the Wellstone Memorial, former St Paul Mayor Norm Coleman (R) was elected to the US Senate over former Vice President Walter Mondale (D) who stood in for the election and House Republicans expanded their majority to 81 to 52. The reason for a smaller majority was a late resignation after the election by Rep. Dan McElroy (R) in 2002.

The 2008 election resulted in the largest turnout in state history. US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) received 1,573,354 votes for 54.06% compared to 1,275,409 or 43.82 for Us Senator John McCain (R-AZ). On election night the results in the reelection contest for US Senator Norm Coleman (R  -MN) and Al Franken (D-MN) resulted in a recount and by a difference of 312 votes Franken was declared the victor.

In conclusion, statewide federal races dictate turnout and have shown an effect on House Legislative Majorities. If the candidate is an incumbent in a non-Presidential election year House Majority follows. This occurred for both the Republican and DFL majorities. It favored Republicans in 1984 and 2002 and for the DFL in 2006 and 2012.

Twice the Republicans gained the House Majority without there being a statewide federal candidate in 1998 and in 2010. The DFL did the same in 1986. Never has an election for a federal statewide seat unseated the incumbent and resulted in the change in the House Legislative Majority.

This means the reelection of Al Franken (D-MN) should benefit the DFL in retaining its majority.

Some Republicans Lobbyists Fighting for Their Livelihood

The results of the 2012 election brought about one-party rule (DFL) in St Paul and many Republican lobbyists found themselves in dire straits with the significant loss of clients. This meant their influence fell largely on deaf ears for the last two legislative sessions since members of the minority party lacked the ability to affect any legislative outcomes.

This is one reason why we have seen the rise of Independent Expenditure (IE) groups here in the state. Some lobbyists, former elected officials and former Republican party staff, with plenty of time on their hands are dedicating their energies once again to changing the political landscape from blue to red. Since Republicans are able to cultivate money for political purposes, it is clear those with lobbying interests have shifted their attention from legislative pursuits to elections. They seek to go back to the future and recreate the 2010 results where Republicans control the House, but if current trends hold they will not be able to unseat US Senator Al Fanken (D-MN) or Governor Mark Dayton’s (DFL).  This is ironic, since both Franken and Dayton had to survive recounts to gain their seats.

As we follow the House races targeted and listen to the rhetoric from the IE groups and speak with some of the principals involved we gain the following insight. There is a highly simplistic approach each of these IE groups appears to be applying. It amounts to a three-pronged strategy in targeted legislative seats. These three consist of: 1) Seats where former Governor Mitt Romney (R) beat President Barak Obama (D). 2) Seats where voters supported the Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage. 3) Seats where the results were a close victory for the legislative victor.

We will be watching the campaign finance reports for a number of groups and will take the opportunity to highlight four at this time. They are: Minnesota’s Future, The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Action Network and the Minnesota Jobs Coalition. Each had collected and spent money during the pre-Primary period and their final their pre-General Election reports are due October 25th.

Minnesota‘s Future

Minnesota’s Future IE PAC is a construction of the political firm Weber Johnson Public Affairs which consists of Principals Joe Weber, brother of former Congressman Vin Weber (R) and Greg Johnson, former aide to Governor Tim Pawlenty (R), Republican political operative Chris Tiedeman, Mike Franklin, Emily Nesse and Holli (Drinkwine) Overbeke.

Minnesota’s Future Chair is Weber he is a registered lobbyist with only client, the Twin Cities Metal Association http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/adetail/a6505.html. Johnson is Minnesota’s Future Treasurer and he also is a registered lobbyist http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/lbdetail/lb1509.html with two registered clients, Elk Farm LLC http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/adetail/a6083.html and Twin Cities Metal Association. Tiedeman is Minnesota’s Future Spokesperson and he also has only one client the Twin Cities Metal Association.

Minnesota’s Future spent the bulk of its money during the Primary with independent expenditures on behalf of Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R) and former House Speaker Kurt Zellars (R).

Here is Minnesota’s Future registration. http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/campfin/PCFDetail/PCF40989.html

Here is their pre-Primary report.

http://www.cfbreport.state.mn.us/rptViewer/Main.php?do=viewPDF

Minnesota‘s Future IE PAC

Starting Cash Balance             $   7,366.86

Total Receipts                         $155,000.00

Total Expenditures                  $161,214.67

Ending Cash Balance              $    1,152.19

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund Chair is Joel Swedberg, is a registered lobbyist and is the Vice-President for Legislative Affairs for Hormel http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/lbdetail/lb1310.html. His only client is Hormel.  Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund Treasurer is Bill Blazar is a registered lobbyist for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/lbdetail/lb6805.html.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce traditionally supports Republican candidates and it is the more familiar traditional source of outside funding for Republicans.

Here is their campaign finance registration.

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/campfin/PCFDetail/PCF70001.html

Here is Minnesota’s Future IE PAC pre-Primary campaign finance report.

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/campfin/PCFDetail/PCF70001.html

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund

Starting Cash Balance             $  96,041.81

Total Receipts                         $137,563.14

Total Expenditures                  $  91,974.19

Ending Cash Balance              $149,957.98

Minnesota Action Network IE PAC

The Chair of the Minnesota Action Network IE PAC is former US Senator Norm Coleman (R) and former Rep. Laura Brod (R) was the Executive Director.

The Minnesota Action Network IE Treasurer is Gina Countryman, former State Republican Party Communications Director.

Here is their campaign finance registration.

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/campfin/PCFDetail/PCF41098.html

This group appears to have been keeping its powder dry during the Primary and we will learn the extent of their involvement with the October 25th report.

Here is their pre-Primary campaign finance report.

http://www.cfbreport.state.mn.us/rptViewer/Main.php?do=viewPDF

Minnesota Action Network IE PAC

Starting Cash Balance             $           0.00

Total Receipts                         $352,200.00

Total Expenditures                  $  36,417.22

Ending Cash Balance              $315,782.78

 

Minnesota Jobs Coalition

Minnesota Jobs Coalition Chair Ben Golnik, is not a registered lobbyist, and is a former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Minnesota. He has his own political consulting firm called Golnik Strategies. He is a political operative who prides himself with his role in the 2010 Republican Majority takeover of the state senate in addition to the election of Chip Cravaak to Congress. The Minnesota Jobs Coalition Treasurer is Kevin Magnuson.

This group is by far the most political with its focus on winning elections. They have mounted a significant effort against Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) and the DFL House Caucus. The attention they are gaining in the press has helped their fundraising efforts significantly.

We are anxiously awaiting their October 25th campaign finance report.

Here is their campaign finance registration.

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/campfin/PCFDetail/PCF41115.htm

Here is their pre-Primary campaign finance report.

http://www.cfbreport.state.mn.us/rptViewer/Main.php?do=viewPDF

Minnesota Jobs Coalition

Starting Cash Balance             $  21,114.05

Total Receipts                         $167,110.00

Total Expenditures                  $170,606.54

Ending Cash Balance              $  17,617.51

Is Payment of Legislative Per Diem Warranted?

When the DFL regained control the legislature in 2009 discussions about the increases in per diem commenced.  Questions over legislative compensation often have become fodder for debate and political campaigns. As is often the case Checks & Balances is not concerned with matters of due compensation for just work, but is interested in situations where public officials may overstep their bounds or show levels of hypocrisy.
We noticed a number of legislators were absent multiple times this legislative session and we wondered if they were collecting per diem when not present for a floor session. The floor session attendance is the only way we were able to determine absences because legislators do not have to punch a time clock and legislative committees, which take attendance do not meet every day.
When we contacted the House Controller Jim Reinholdz we learned there are many fashion in which House members receive per diem.
Some members receive  per diem seven days a week, others not on Sunday, some not on the weekends or on holidays and others specify certain dates which they will not receive any payments, while some others take no per diem at all.
The person with the highest number of excused absences in 2013 with 21 was Rep. Linda Slocum (DFL-50A, Richfield). We spoke with Slocum and learned she had knee replacement surgery in 2013 and other than the week of her surgery she was doing constituent work at home while recuperating.
Slocum takes per diem seven days a week.
Rep. Mark Anderson (R-09A, Lake Shore) has the second highest amount with 19 excused absences. We have contacted Anderson numerous times for clarification and he has failed to response to our inquires. Two other facts worth noting are Anderson missed the Special Session and votes on issues important  to his district including the Bonding Bill, which contained funding for Central Lakes College.
We know he is in the process of building a new brewery business and is known to be a private pilot. We would be interested in reviewing his flight records and seeing if the absences listed coincide with private plane flights. If so, then the citizen’s of Minnesota may be paying compensation during private business transactions.
Anderson a self-described Conservative, takes per diem seven days a week.
When we noted other absences and found retiring member Rep. David FitzSimmons (R-30B, St Michael) had 18 excused absences over the course of the 2013-14 session.  FitzSimmons failed to secure Republican endorsement and is now the Campaign Manager for 6th Congressional Candidate Tom Emmer (R). FitzSimmons failed to return our call on this matter.
Another retiring member is Rep. Andrea Kieffer (R-53B, Woodbury). She has the fourth highest numbers of excused absences with 14 for 2013-14, we understand she is moving to Texas and we have not spoken with her on this matter.
Kieffer does not receive per diem on Sundays.
Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-58B, Farmington) had the fifth most excused absences with 12 during 2013-14. We spoke with him regarding this matter and he said during a portion of the 2014 he attended a ALEC Conference, the Conservative organization American Legislative Exchange Council, which produces “model legislation.”  He also admitted that occurred at the beginning of the week and he was needed for system repair for the rest of the week.
Garofalo also a Conservative, takes per diem seven days a week
Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-53B, Inver Grove Heights) in sixth place having 9 excused absences during the 2013-14 legislative session. We spoke with him and he cross-referenced each instance with his calendar. He during noted one block of time we inquired, he attended the Conference of Insurance Legislators. On another in which he was listed as absent from the floor he had attended a Ways and Means Committee, so believes he was present.
Atkins takes per diem seven days a week.
We have include links to the House Journal for the dates in question.
Thursday, May 15, 2014 Anderson, M., and Kieffer were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0515105.htm
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 Anderson, M.; Beard; FitzSimmons and Kieffer were excused http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0514104.htm
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Kelly, Lesch and Newberger were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0513103.htm
Monday, May 12, 2014 FitzSimmons, Kiel and McDonald were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0512102.htm
Friday, May 9, 2014 Abeler, Beard, FitzSimmons, Fritz, Holberg and Ward, J.E., were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0509101.htm
Thursday, May 8, 2014 FitzSimmons was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0508100.htm
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 FitzSimmons, Hamilton and Hilstrom were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0507099.htm
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 Allen, FitzSimmons, Holberg, McDonald and Scott were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0506098.htm
Monday, May 5, 2014
Friday, May 2, 2014 Abeler; Albright; Anderson, M.; FitzSimmons; Garofalo; Hoppe; Howe; Mack; McDonald; Moran; Petersburg; Scott and Thissen were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0506098.htm
Thursday, May 1, 2014 FitzSimmons, Garofalo, Kieffer and Moran were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0501095.htm
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Garofalo and Moran were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0501095.htm
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 FitzSimmons, Garofalo, Kieffer, Leidiger, O’Neill and Woodard were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0429093.htm
Monday, April 28, 2014 Daudt; Erickson, S.; Falk; FitzSimmons; Garofalo; Gruenhagen; Melin; Newberger; O’Neill; Quam and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0428092.htm
Friday, April 25, 2014 Abeler; Anderson, M.; Erickson, S.; Franson; Garofalo; Hoppe, McDonald and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0425091.htm
Thursday, April 24, 2014 Anderson, M., and FitzSimmons were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0424090.htm
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Anderson, M.; FitzSimmons and Kieffer were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0423089.htm
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 Howe and McDonald were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0422088.htm
Thursday, April 10, 2014 Kieffer was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0410087.htm
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Paymar, Pelowski and Woodard were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0409086.htm
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Atkins and Woodard were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0408085.htm
Monday, April 7, 2014 Atkins was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0407084.htm
Friday, April 4, 2014 Benson, M.; Dehn, R.; Lesch; McDonald; Scott; Simon and Zerwas were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0404083.htm
Thursday, April 3, 2014 Lesch and Simon were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0403082.htm
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 Atkins, Kelly, Kieffer, Leidiger, Sawatzky, Simon and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0402081.htm
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Abeler; Anderson, M.; Atkins; Gruenhagen; Hoppe; Howe; Kieffer; Lohmer; Mack; McDonald; O’Neill; Persell; Sanders and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0401080.htm
Monday, March 31, 2014 Leidiger, Lohmer and Persell were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0331079.htm
Friday, March 28, 2014 eler; Anderson, P.; Barrett; Davids; Dean, M.; FitzSimmons; Green; Gruenhagen; Hamilton; Hilstrom; Hoppe; Kelly; Kresha; Lohmer; Mack; Melin; Murphy, E.; Newberger; Petersburg; Quam; Swedzinski; Thissen; Torkelson; Wagenius; Ward, J.E., and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0328078.htm
Thursday, March 27, 2014 Dean, M.; Kelly; Melin and Wagenius were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0328078.htm
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014 Anderson, M.; Beard; Kieffer; Sanders and Woodard were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0321074.htm
Thursday, March 20, 2014 Woodard and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0320073.htm
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Anderson, M.; Hackbarth and Mack were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0319072.htm
Monday, March 17, 2014 Clark, Hilstrom, Hoppe, Kieffer and Radinovich were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0317071.htm
Thursday, March 13, 2014 Erickson, R.; FitzSimmons; Mariani and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0313070.htm
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 Atkins, Erhardt, FitzSimmons, Hackbarth, Kieffer, Lillie, McDonald, Metsa, Persell and Schoen were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0312069.htm
Monday, March 10, 2014 Atkins, FitzSimmons, Hackbarth, Hansen, Nornes, O’Driscoll, Persell and Sundin were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0310068.htm
Thursday, March 6, 2014 Atkins; Hamilton; Hilstrom; Lesch and Mack were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0306067.htm
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Hoppe, Kelly, Mack, Morgan and Zerwas were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0304066.htm
Monday, March 3, 2014 FitzSimmons, Hamilton, Hilstrom, Savick, Simon and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0303065.htm
Thursday, February 27, 2014 Abeler, FitzSimmons, Hamilton, Pugh and Savick were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0227064.htm
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Franson was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0225063.htm
Subsequent Proceedings 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013 Franson, McDonald and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0513055.htm
Friday, May 10, 2013 Anderson, P.; Hausman; Lohmer and Runbeck were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0510054.htm
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013 Barrett was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0506050.htm
Friday, May 3, 2013 Dill, Gunther, Norton and Petersburg were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0506050.htm
Thursday, May 2, 2013 Anderson, M.; Clark; Dill; Kelly; Loon; Mullery and Petersburg were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0502048.htm
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Loon, Mack, Mullery, Petersburg and Woodard were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0502048.htm
Monday, April 29, 2013 Dill; Petersburg; Ward, J.E., and Woodard were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0429046.htm
Friday, April 26, 2013 Albright, Dill, Garofalo, Kresha, McDonald, O’Driscoll and Savick were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0426045.htm
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 Dean, M., was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0424043.htm
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013 Garofalo; Hertaus; Johnson, B., and Theis were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0420040.htm
Friday, April 19, 2013 Dill, Garofalo, Slocum and Theis were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0419039.htm
Thursday, April 18, 2013 Dill, Garofalo and Theis were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0418038.htm
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Anderson, M., and Marquart were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0418038.htm
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Dettmer and Hilstrom were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0416036.htm
Monday, April 15, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013 Anderson, M.; Kieffer and Lesch were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0411034.htm
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Dill, Mack and Pelowski were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0410033.htm
Monday, April 8, 2013 Garofalo was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0408032.htm
Thursday, April 4, 2013 Falk, Pelowski and Persell were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0404031.htm
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Erhardt, Newberger and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0402030.htm
Thursday, March 21, 2013 Anderson, M.; Freiberg; Hackbarth; Mariani and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0321029.htm
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 Dill, Hackbarth, Mack, Slocum and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0320028.htm
Monday, March 18, 2013 Dill, Hackbarth, Kelly, Loon, Mack and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0318027.htm
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Erickson, S.; Slocum; Torkelson and Woodard were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0313025.htm
Monday, March 11, 2013 Beard, Cornish, Metsa and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0311024.htm
Thursday, March 7, 2013 Anderson, M.; Davids; Holberg; Huntley; Mariani and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0307023.htm
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 Anderson, M.; Davids and Holberg were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0306022.htm
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 Cornish, Davids, Davnie, Dill, Erhardt, Loeffler, Mariani, McDonald, McNamara, Slocum, Thissen, Wagenius and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0305021.htm
Monday, March 4, 2013 Davids, McNamara and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0305021.htm
Thursday, February 28, 2013 Abeler, Allen, Melin, Schomacker, Scott and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0228019.htm
Monday, February 25, 2013 Hackbarth, Melin, Sanders, Schomacker and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0225018.htm
Thursday, February 21, 2013 Beard, Fritz, Hackbarth, Holberg, Isaacson, McDonald, Melin, Sanders and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0221017.htm
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 Hoppe, Melin, Slocum and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0220016.htm
Monday, February 18, 2013 Anderson, M.; Hackbarth; Mack and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0218015.htm
Thursday, February 14, 2013 Kresha, Paymar and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0214014.htm
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 Anderson, M.; Beard; Bly; Kresha; Mack; Masin; Slocum and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0214014.htm
Monday, February 11, 2013 Slocum was excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0211012.htm
Thursday, February 7, 2013 Hackbarth, Lesch, McDonald, Slocum and Zellers were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0207011.htm
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 Allen, Clark, Garofalo, Hackbarth, Hilstrom, Holberg, Kieffer, McDonald, Peppin, Simon and Slocum were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0206010.htm
Monday, February 4, 2013 Erickson, R.; Mariani and Yarusso were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0204009.htm
Thursday, January 31, 2013 Anderson, M.; Anzelc; Kelly and Yarusso were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0131008.htm
Monday, January 28, 2013 Barrett, Hamilton, Holberg and McNamar were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0128007.htm
Thursday, January 24, 2013 Falk, Hoppe, Hornstein, Mullery, Newton and Thissen were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0124006.htm
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 Anzelc, Atkins, Dill, Falk, FitzSimmons, Hansen, Kahn and Runbeck were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0122005.htm
Thursday, January 17, 2013 Erickson, R.; Hamilton; Hilstrom and Kahn were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0117004.htm
Monday, January 14, 2013 Atkins, Huntley, Moran and Scott were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0114003.htm
Thursday, January 10, 2013 Anzelc, Bernardy, Clark, Hilstrom, Lesch, Mullery, O’Driscoll and Peppin were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0110002.htm
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Special Session
Monday, September 9, 2013 Anderson, M.; Beard; Dill; Erhardt; Kieffer and Morgan were excused. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2013-14/J0909001.htm

A Comprehensive Analysis of the 2014 House Legislative Races

This election the control of the Minnesota House is the major prize in state politics. Most pundits believe the DFL majority of seven votes to be in jeopardy, but we feel differently. The main reason being there is little being discussed this election by Republican candidates, at any level, which is resonating with the electorate.

The tried, tested and tired Republican arguments of the need for lower taxes, smaller government and more liberty is the mantra offered throughout the 1990’s, 2000’s and continues today, but the words ring hollow. Yes, there is an attempt to incense the electorate with the construction of a new State Senate Office building, but this is gaining little if any traction. Under Republican leadership, our state experienced regular deficits, tightening of budgets and fewer available services and the state suffered. Today, after the DFL gained control of the Governorship, House and Senate much has changed.

As we have said previously, this is a base vote election and often it is the Republicans, who have a more assured electorate voting base, but the DFL have higher numbers of overall voters. The principle problem is in non-Presidential election years, Democrats have trouble motivating their base in participating.

During his campaign in 2010 Mark Dayton (DFL) promised to raise income taxes on the upper 2% of Minnesota taxpayer’s and with the assistance of the DFL controlled House and Senate did so in 2013. Since the change in leadership, the state has experienced a balanced budget with a surplus, lower unemployment than the national average and increased school funding.

If these are a voter’s priorities, we think there is little reason to change representation.  Granted, if someone is anti-Gay Marriage, opposed to government involvement in health care, or the current tax policy, they may seek alternatives to the current majority.

Our argument is there is little reason to change the current course of state government and we believe the DFL will hold the majority in the House. We are tracking a number of these seats and here is our analysis.

To view the match-ups go to the Secretary of State’s candidate search page here: http://candidates.sos.state.mn.us/CandidateFilingResults.aspx?county=0&municipality=0&schooldistrict=0&hospitaldistrict=0&level=1&party=0&federal=False&judicial=False&executive=False&senate=False&representative=True&title=&office=0&candidateid=0

When analyzing the state through the lens of 134 seats there are many bedrock DFL and Republican districts, many believe these to be between 114 and 117 seats with the 68 vote majority is determined by the 20-17 swing seats.  The number of swing seats is in dispute because it is dependent upon what favors used to determine a swing seat.

Some people are short-sighted and think a swing seat is one held by the previous party in the last election. This is far too simplistic and is not on sound analytically footing.

If we view past elections we argue one must eliminate 2010, because in spite of Republicans taking control of both the House and Senate it was an aberration election. Without any statewide federal candidates on the ballot, which happens only every 12 years, voter turnout was significantly suppressed and provides skewed figures.

This election because of the US Senate race between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Businessman Mike McFadden (R) an open seat in the 6th Congressional District and out-of state money being spent in the 7th and 8th Congressional Districts. To goal being unseat Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN07) by the Republican Campaign Committee on behalf of State Senator Torrey Westrom (R-12, Elbow Lake) and Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN08) by the US Chamber of Commerce which is trying replace him with Stewart Mills (R).

These contested races will foster many more votes than in 2010.

Defining Swing Districts

On paper, we see any of the legislative seats secured by less than 4% as potential swing seats and those obtained by less than 2% as vulnerable for the incumbent. This combined with the length of office of the incumbent, the index of the district are strong determinative factors in off-year elections, but turnout is always the key factor. It is also worth noting those seats captured in 2012 happened during a Presidential election, which in Minnesota are always more favorable to Democratic candidates.

This election, like most others consists of a number of races where the incumbents are veritable shoe-ins and other seats considered to be swing districts. The factors which constitute a swing district this election are the votes cast in the last Presidential election, the previous gubernatorial election and the vote of the district on the issue of Gay Marriage.

Of these three factors the Gay Marriage issue is less of an indicator, because now it is law and the issue is largely settled. Republicans are hesitant to call for repeal or even discuss the issue on the campaign trail, but sexual issue politics have continued to affect local communities. Last legislative session the anti-bullying issue took gay overtones due to testimony offered in committee. Most recently, the issue of transgender athletes is coming before the MN High School League. These social issues are far less beneficial for DFL candidates when asked to defend specific policies or countermand local control.

The main questions are intended to determine if the current officeholder is inline or divergent with the district ideologically and these three factors can assist in making those determinations.

Additional factors we take into account are: the financial strength of the candidate, the strength of their respective caucus, the support from their senate district and also in some cases the house district.

By the Numbers

In the overall here are the pre-General Election numbers for the Political Parties and the legislative caucuses. As you can see the DFL House Caucus has a significant financial advantage. In most categories they significantly outpace the Republicans House Caucus. The two sides start fairly close with the DFL Starting Cash Balance=$638,140.76 and the Republicans Starting Cash Balance=$524,503.64. This changes dramatically with DFL Total Receipts=$2,615,094.61 compared to Republican Receipts=$942,349.26. The DFL Expenditures total $1,765,754.27with $1,510,281.10 Cash On-Hand. While the Republicans account for $1,000,317.34 in Expenditures and only $633,595.56 Cash On-Hand.

This means the DFL House Caucus is flush and able to spend large amounts of money in any House District.

The following are Pre-Primary reports, including any amendments and 24 hour notices. This is the most current information prior to the Pre-General Election report due October 27th. We will breakdown a number of factors in each respective district.

House DFL Caucus

Starting Cash Balance             $638,140.76

Total Receipts                         $2,615,094.61

Total Expenditures                  $1,765,754.27

Ending Cash Balance              $1,510,281.10

Republican House Caucus

(HRCC-House Republican Caucus Committee)

Starting Cash Balance             $524,503.64

Total Receipts                         $942,349.26

Total Expenditures                  $1,000,317.34

Ending Cash Balance              $633,595.56

DFL Party

(Minn DFL State Central Committee)

Starting Cash Balance             $99,474.99

Total Receipts                         $3,959,511.66

Total Expenditures                  $3,539,327.39

Ending Cash Balance              $623,220.53

Republican Party

Starting Cash Balance             $67,233.17

Total Receipts                         $1,550,779.45

Total Expenditures                  $1,735,976.60

Ending Cash Balance              $260,400.87

Looking at the Myriad of Factors

If we view the number of first-term officeholders there are 35, with 20 DFLers and 15 Republicans. Two of the freshmen were elected during Special Elections and they are Reps: Tama Theis (R-14A, St Cloud), and Clark Johnson (DFL-19A, North Mankato). We take a look at Theis’ seat, but Johnson’s appear to be safe.

Generally, it is easier to oust a legislator during their first-term prior to their entrenchment. Of these “swing seats” eleven are currently held by DFL Reps: Roger Erickson (DFL-02A, Baudette), Ben Lien (DFL-04B, Moorhead), Joe Radinovich (DFL-10B, Crosby), Rep. Jay McNamar (DFL-12A, Elbow Lake),  Zach Dorholt (DFL-14B, St Cloud), Rep. Mary Sawatzky (DFL-17B, Willmar), Rep. Shannon Savick (DFL-27A, Wells),  Barb Yarusso (DFL-42A, Shoreview), Yvonne Selcer (DFL-48A, Minnetonka), Laurie Halverson (DFL-51B, Eagan),   Dan Schoen (DFL-54A, St Paul Park), and three Republican Reps: Jeff Howe (R-13A, Rockville), John Petersburg (R-24A, Waseca) and Mark Uglem (R-36A,Champlin).

Additionally, four are incumbents serving in non-consecutive terms. These DFLer’s represent swing districts Reps. Tim Faust (DFL-11B, Mora), Ron Erhardt (DFL-49A, Edina), Paul Rosenthal (DFL-49B, Edina), and Sandra Masin (DFL-51A, Eagan).

Now we will breakdown each of these House Districts and provide our own determinations.

The first district is in the northwestern part of the state and is a contest between incumbent Rep. Roger Erickson (DFL-02A, Baudette) and challenger David Hancock (R-02A). This is a sequel election from 2012, where Rep. Erickson easily defeated Hancock by 9.31%.

In District 02A, voters supported Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012. They also voted in favor of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Erickson voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Rep. Erickson has a sizable financial edge as can be seen below over his opponent and the Senate District is also assisting in the effort without any Republican opposition doing the same.

Because of the financial advantages, incumbency and a sizable victory over the same opponent in 2012 we give the edge to Erickson.

DFL House Candidate

Roger Erickson (DFL-02A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $  9,969.08

Total Receipts                         $18,276.00

Total Expenditures                  $  7,700.81

Ending Cash Balance              $20,271.27

Republican House Candidate

David Hancock (R-02A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $        0.00

Total Receipts                         $11,617.65

Total Expenditures                  $  2,565.34

Ending Cash Balance              $  9,052.31

2nd Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  9,731.06

Total Receipts                         $  5,164.87

Total Expenditures                  $13,619.49

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,276.44

In District 04A, Rep. Ben Lien (DFL-04A, Moorhead) faces Brian Gramer (R-04A). This race is considered a swing seat because it changed hands in 2012. This appears to be a safe DFL seat to us.

The voters in district 04A supported President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012. They opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted in favor of Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Financially, the two sides are in a virtual; dead heat, but the final number my show some distance. The Senate District shows little in the way of their support. Lien did vote to

The major factors we consider in this race are the recent support Democratic candidates. Unless something dramatic occurs in the later stages of this campaign we expect Lien to return to St. Paul to be sworn in in January.

DFL House Candidate

Ben Lien (DFL-04A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $  4,168.45

Total Receipts                         $18,835.95

Total Expenditures                  $  6,542.51

Ending Cash Balance              $16,461.89

Republican House Candidate

Brian Gramer (R-04A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $         0.00

Total Receipts                         $16,817.00

Total Expenditures                  $    188.77

Ending Cash Balance              $16,628.23

4th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $     881.00

Total Receipts                         $     274.50

Total Expenditures                  $     626.40

Ending Cash Balance              $     529.10

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

 

The race in 10B is key factor in determining in the DFL retains control next legislative session. The rematch contest between Rep. Joe Radinovich (DFL-10B, Crosby) and challenger Dale Lueck (R-10B) will one to watch. In 2012, Radinovich squeaked out a victory with 323 votes or 50.69%.

The voters in 10B voted for Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012, and voted in favor of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. Additionally, they supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Radinovich voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Rep. Radinovich has a unique advantage over other candidates, because he has stayed in his community and not left for greener pastures such as the Twin Cities, he shows significant support for his community.

He is an attractive candidate and shows tireless dedication to his district. Because he previously worked as a political operative in the region he is well acquainted with the area economically, socially and politically. He has his finger on the pulse of the district. The benefits of an early financial advantage are hard to overcome, combined with the fact this is another sequel election in which voters have already decided, should result in a return to St Paul for Radinovich.

DFL House Candidate

Joe Radinovich (DFL-10B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $25,000.97

Total Receipts                         $30,255.97

Total Expenditures                  $36,039.78

Ending Cash Balance              $19,217.16

Republican House Candidate

Dale Lueck (R-10B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $   3850.01

Total Receipts                         $11,489.00

Total Expenditures                  $   2626.29

Ending Cash Balance              $12,712.72

10th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  1,205.00

Total Receipts                         $     704.80

Total Expenditures                  $  1,201.36

Ending Cash Balance              $     708.94

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

 

Rep. Faust lost his reelection bid in 2010 and won in 2012 with 51.23% of the vote. This seat is a vulnerable district for the DFL and will be a harbinger of the races to watch. Faust has always had close elections. In his first election in 2006, Faust won in a non-Presidential year with 52.18%. In 2008, he carried the district with 50.63%. One clear advantage Faust has over all but three others this election is he knows what it is like to lose.

The voters in 11B voted for Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012, and voted in favor of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Faust voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

On paper this is a hard district for the DFL to retain. One sizable factor is Rep. Faust early fundraising figures combined with the starting cash balance, which is better than double of that of his opponent, but little financial support from the Senate District. Which is surprising since we know this is a targeted district for the DFL House Caucus and important for retention of the legislative majority. It is worth noting Rick Nolan (D) beat Congressman Chip Cravaak (R-MN08) in 2012 by over 400 votes and the contest in the 8th Congressional District should help drive turnout.

With most of the factors weighing against Faust it will be his own abilities which will determine this outcome. We see this as a toss-up leaning toward Faust if turnout numbers are higher than average mid-term elections.

DFL House Candidate

Tim Faust (DFL-11B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $16,167.25

Total Receipts                         $18,605.00

Total Expenditures                  $  8,055.44

Ending Cash Balance              $26,716.21

Republican House Candidate

Jason Rarick (R-11B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $    875.32

Total Receipts                         $16,137.10

Total Expenditures                  $12,326.08

Ending Cash Balance              $  4,686.34

11th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $     771.53

Total Receipts                         $     975.00

Total Expenditures                  $  1,471.53

Ending Cash Balance              $     275.00

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

The race in district 12A features Rep. Jay McNamar (DFL-12A, Elbow Lake) against Jeff Backer Jr (R).

The voters in 12A voted for Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012, and voted in favor of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. McNamar voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

In 2012 McNamar beat his opponent by 255 votes, but there was an Independence Party Candidate in the race who received 1305 votes. This election is a head-to-head race after his opponent prevailed in a contested Primary. We expect this significantly depleted Backer’s resources and his final report will show a clearer picture.

In spite of Rep. McNamar having a better than a two-to-one advantage over his opponent in early money in addition to a contentious race in the 7th Congressional District between Collin Peterson (D-MN07) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-12, Elbow Lake) we see this as a key race for the DFL majority and a toss-up. Because Westrom is the Senator in this district he might be able to generate more Republican support which could benefit Backer.

DFL House Candidate

Jay McNamar (DFL-12A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $20,396.23

Total Receipts                         $32,210.45

Total Expenditures                  $16,383.71

Ending Cash Balance              $37,422.97

Republican House Candidate

Jeff Backer Jr (R-12A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $  1,306.14

Total Receipts                         $26,451.70

Total Expenditures                  $10,760.03

Ending Cash Balance              $16,684.91

12th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $     452.28

Total Receipts                         $     202.00

Total Expenditures                  $     590.53

Ending Cash Balance              $       64.28

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

 

We call attention to the race in 14B because it features former House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-St Cloud). Knoblach who is a good deadpan of Jimmy Stewart, is trying to unseat freshman Rep. Zach Dorholt (DFL-14B, St Cloud).

In District 14B, voters supported President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012. They also voted against of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They supported Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Dorholt voted for civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Rep. Dorholt does have the luxury of representing the St Cloud State side of the district, which means he has a solid voting base. Financially, Knoblach has a significant financial advantage, but campus votes are a gold standard if the students are motivated to vote.

We expect Dorholt will prevail, but again it is a race-to-watch.

DFL House Candidate

Zachary Dorholt (DFL-14B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $12,881.82

Total Receipts                         $19,820.00

Total Expenditures                  $16,930.21

Ending Cash Balance              $15,771.61

Republican House Candidate

Jim Knoblach (R-14B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $       00.00

Total Receipts                         $57,249.03

Total Expenditures                  $15,307.86

Ending Cash Balance              $41,941.17

14th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  1,639.94

Total Receipts                         $  3,844.80

Total Expenditures                  $  4,783.75

Ending Cash Balance              $     700.99

14th Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,402.38

Total Receipts                         $  7,716.07

Total Expenditures                  $  6,547.82

Ending Cash Balance              $  3,570.63

Rep. Mary Sawatzky (DFL-17B, Willmar) faces general contractor David Baker (R).

The voters in 17B voted for Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012, but opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Sawatzky, who is Catholic, voted against civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Reports out of district 17B are that no one works harder door knocking than Rep. Sawatzky. It is clear from the financial reports her opponent, a building contractor, has a sizable financial advantage. We understand Sawatzky is combating that with sweat equity and personal connections. Even with a sizable lead Sawatzky has raised a good amount on her own.

Those following this race closely believe as do we Sawatzky will prevail.

DFL House Candidate

Mary Sawatzky (DFL-17B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $19,643.73

Total Receipts                         $19,806.18

Total Expenditures                  $14,432.99

Ending Cash Balance              $25,116.92

Republican House Candidate

David Baker (R-17B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $       00.00

Total Receipts                         $69,894.58

Total Expenditures                  $15,544.98

Ending Cash Balance              $54,346.60

17th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $     608.33

Total Receipts                         $     237.09

Total Expenditures                  $       82.20

Ending Cash Balance              $     763.22

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

 

Rep. Shannon Savick (DFL-27A, Wells) is one of 7 candidates to in races with 3rd Party candidates. She faces Peggy Bennett (R) and Thomas Keith Price (IP). In 20123, she faced a similar situation with the same composition and prevailed with 753 votes.

The voters in 27A voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and supported the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Savick voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Her sizable financial advantage coupled with her experience in a multi-candidate race should aid in her fortunes this election. We rate this as a toss-up with an edge to Savick.

DFL House Candidate

Shannon Savick (DFL-27A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $13,904.81

Total Receipts                         $18,683.50

Total Expenditures                  $11,219.33

Ending Cash Balance              $21,468.98

Republican House Candidate

Peggy Bennett (R-27A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $  1,100.00

Total Receipts                         $22,826.61

Total Expenditures                  $12,656.13

Ending Cash Balance              $11,270.48

Independence House Candidate

Thomas Keith Price (IP-27A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $       00.00

Total Receipts                         $  3,714.81

Total Expenditures                  $  3,435.56

Ending Cash Balance              $    279.25

27th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,145.93

Total Receipts                         $  5,899.00

Total Expenditures                  $  6,145.15

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,899.78

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

The election in District 36A is one of the few considered a swing seat with a Republican officeholder. Rep. Mark Uglem (R-36A, Champlin) captured the open seat when Rep. Denise Dittrich (DFL-Champlin) decided not to seek reelection. He has not raised a large amount of money in his reelection effort, but neither has his opponent Jefferson Fietek (DFL).

The voters in 17B voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, but opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted for Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Uglem, voted against civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013 as did most of the Republicans.

We are not seeing very many reasons why Rep. Uglem will not return to St Paul. We expect he will.

Republican House Candidate

Mark Uglem (R-36A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $10,924.57

Total Receipts                         $  9,485.91

Total Expenditures                  $  4,730.09

Ending Cash Balance              $15,680.39

Jefferson Fietek (DFL-36A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $     118.39

Total Receipts                         $11,935.00

Total Expenditures                  $  5,120.11

Ending Cash Balance              $  7,133.28

36th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,015.02

Total Receipts                         $  7,993.00

Total Expenditures                  $  7,613.44

Ending Cash Balance              $  2,769.58

36th Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  3,282.10

Total Receipts                         $  6,118.79

Total Expenditures                  $  6,704.96

Ending Cash Balance              $  2,695.93

 

The race in District 42A will should if the DFL continues to have strength in the Ramsey County suburbs. In her reelection campaign Rep. Barb Yarusso (DFL-42A, Little Canada) squares off with Randy Jessup (R).

The voters in 17B voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted for Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Yarusso voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

In 2012, Yarusso defeated her opponent by 1531 votes. She holds a holds a sizable financial advantage over her opponent as seen in the pre-Primary report. We will learn if the remains on October 27th.

We expect she will be reelected though the margin may tighten.

DFL House Candidate

Barb Yarusso (DFL-42A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $15,186.39

Total Receipts                         $15,538.00

Total Expenditures                  $  4,778.60

Ending Cash Balance              $25,945.79

Republican House Candidate

Randy Jessup (R-42A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $       00.00

Total Receipts                         $11,946.39

Total Expenditures                  $  2,670.73

Ending Cash Balance              $  9,275.66

42A House District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $     822.53

Total Receipts                         $  1,995.44

Total Expenditures                  $  2,167.99

Ending Cash Balance              $     949.98

There is no DFL House District Committee.

42nd Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $11,138.08

Total Receipts                         $     923.02

Total Expenditures                  $11,005.22

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,055.88

The race in 48A is closely watched for a number of reasons, first it is a sequel election, second the last contest was decided by 202 votes and third Republicans believe Minnetonka is their territory.

Rep. Selcer once again matches up against former Rep. Kirk Stensrud.

Anyone who has tracked Minnesota election over the course of time knows western Hennepin County is becoming more and more Democratic. Voters in 48A voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted for Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Selcer voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

By all indications this should be a good DFL district. Financially, Rep. Selcer has far outpaced her opponent in fundraising, holding a better than 2-to-1 advantage. The Republican Senate District has spent a good deal of money attempting to compensate. The local DFL has also spent some money supporting Selcer and has more funds available to do so again.

We believe because the voters of this district already decided this contest once we think they will do the same this go round.

DFL House Candidate

Yvonne Selcer (DFL-48A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $25,622.98

Total Receipts                         $29,856.00

Total Expenditures                  $  9,754.92

Ending Cash Balance              $45,924.06

Republican House Candidate

Kirk Stensrud (R-48A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $  1,355.82

Total Receipts                         $24,609.00

Total Expenditures                  $  7,873.44

Ending Cash Balance              $  18,091.38

48th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  5,734.21

Total Receipts                         $  6,013.00

Total Expenditures                  $  5,821.47

Ending Cash Balance              $  5,926.65

48th Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  7,079.94

Total Receipts                         $11,456.00

Total Expenditures                  $14,597.81

Ending Cash Balance              $  3,938.13

Now, some believe, misguidedly, Rep. Ron Erhardt’s (DFL-49A, Edina) seat is in play. This is Erhardt’s 10th non-Consecutive term and the second election he faces the voters as a DFLer. Remember, Erhardt lost the Republican Party endorsement in 2008 because he voted to override Governor Tim Pawlenty’s (R) veto of the Transportation Bill. He still sought reelection, but as a Moderate Independence Party candidate and finished second to current Republican Party Chair Keith Downey, whom he beat outright in 2012 to regain the seat.

Erhardt’s name recognition combined with the DFL index nearly assures his reelection.

Pure and simple, District 49A will be a DFL district on November 5th.= in spite of the large amount of money for the challenger.

Ron Erhardt (R-49A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $25,067.15

Total Receipts                         $31,235.00

Total Expenditures                  $10,797.86

Ending Cash Balance              $45,504.29

Dario Arthur Anselmo (R-49A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $       00.00

Total Receipts                         $83,818.95

Total Expenditures                  $38,060.10

Ending Cash Balance              $52,334.16

District 49B, is another one of the key races that will determine the legislative majority and Rep. Paul Rosenthal (DFL-49B, Edina) has had his ups and downs. He originally sought the office in 2006 and lost by 46.53%. He was first elected in 2008 with 52.56% of the vote. He lost again in 2010 45.57%. He regained the seat in 2012 with 1,720 votes for 53.31%. This time he faces a well-financed opponent in Barb Sutter (R).

Rep. Rosenthal voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Voters in 48A voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted Tom Emmer (R) over for Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

We understand Rosenthal injured his back this summer which has prevented aggressive door knocking on his part. The DFL House Caucus is pumping money into this race to offset Rosenthal’s absence. This is a toss-up race and due to the financial advantage and again it may not bode well for Rosenthal. Gender politics may favor Sutter.

DFL House Candidate

Paul Rosenthal (DFL-49B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $29,064.80

Total Receipts                         $17,765.00

Total Expenditures                  $  8,231.25

Ending Cash Balance              $38,589.55

Republican House Candidate

Barb Sutter (R-49B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $       00.00

Total Receipts                         $48,748.57

Total Expenditures                  $10,106.23

Ending Cash Balance              $38,642.32

49th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $13,087.55

Total Receipts                         $14,690.04

Total Expenditures                  $ 17,494.90

Ending Cash Balance              $10,282.69

49th Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $25,926.66

Total Receipts                         $24,059.79

Total Expenditures                  $32,205.27

Ending Cash Balance              $17,781.18

Rep. Sandra Masin (DFL-51A, Eagan) has experienced a rollercoaster of electoral results. She first ran for the legislature in 1998 against Tim Wilkin (R-Eagan).

In 2006, she beat him after three terms with a 50.15% to 49.78% margin out of 15,156 voters. In 2008, she defeated Diane Anderson 52.40% to 47.36% out of 20,356 voters. In a rematch in 2010, with a significant decline in turnout Anderson succeeded with 52.60% to 47.22%. Masin regained the seat in 2012 with 55.49% out of 21,127 voters.

This election she faces Andrea Todd-Harlin (R).

This Eagan district along with 51B, are bellwether districts for the DFL House Majority. As northern Dakota County Districts each provides a socially moderate fiscally responsible perspective which, squares well with the necessary DFL ideology. Eagan has provided Minnesota with both Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) and State Auditor Pat “Awada” Anderson (R).

The voters of 51A voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted Tom Emmer (R) over for Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Masin voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Rep. Masin has not raised as much money for her reelection which would provide enough comfort for her success. Her Senate District has spent money on behalf of her candidacy, but her seat mate Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-51B, Eagan) is facing a major battle of her own and hence the resources are divided. The Republican Senate District has not spent nearly as much.

If this were a Presidential election year Masin would be fine, but in lieu of the mid-term election, low finances and a rather bland election we rate this as a toss-up slightly leaning toward Masin.

DFL House Candidate

Sandra Masin (DFL-51A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $  8,151.94

Total Receipts                         $15,965.00

Total Expenditures                  $17,799.43

Ending Cash Balance              $  6,317.51

Republican House Candidate

Andrea Todd-Harlin (R-51A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $10,810.74

Total Receipts                         $16,319.39

Total Expenditures                  $13,360.04

Ending Cash Balance              $13,770.09

51st Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  5,621.74

Total Receipts                         $  7,307.07

Total Expenditures                  $10,933.65

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,995.16

51st Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  5,022.84

Total Receipts                         $  7,150.21

Total Expenditures                  $ 7,390.80

Ending Cash Balance              $ 4,782.25

As we indicated above it is hard to view the 51B race without taking into account its sister seat in 51A. Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-51B, Eagan) defeated Rep. Doug Wardlow (R-Eagan) with 912 votes or 51.88% out of 23,534 votes cast. This means turnout will be significant this election against Jennifer Wilson (R).

The voters of 51B voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted Tom Emmer (R) over for Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Halverson voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Rep. Halverson has an edge in fundraising and as we stated above the DFL Senate District has expended resources this election, as did the Republican Senate District but to a lesser amount.

The 51B side of the district is a greater challenge for DFLer’s than is the 51A side. This election will be determined by show leather and if as we understand Rep. Halverson is doing the legwork vigorously door knocking combined with her financial edge she should prevail.

DFL House Candidate

Laurie Halverson (DFL-51B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $16,565.12

Total Receipts                         $11,595.00

Total Expenditures                  $10,747.32

Ending Cash Balance              $17,412.80

Republican House Candidate

Jennifer Wilson (R-51B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $     950.00

Total Receipts                         $16,728.22

Total Expenditures                  $  7,708.30

Ending Cash Balance              $12,727.00

51st Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  5,621.74

Total Receipts                         $  7,307.07

Total Expenditures                  $10,933.65

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,995.16

51st Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  5,022.84

Total Receipts                         $  7,150.21

Total Expenditures                  $ 7,390.80

Ending Cash Balance              $ 4,782.25

In 2012, District 56B was the tightest of all DFL House seats. Former Rep. Will Morgan (DFL-Burnsville) sought to regain a seat in the House in a newly open district. In his first reelection bid he lost to Pam Myhra in 2010 by 472 votes. In 2012, he faced Roz Peterson (R) and the opportunity presented in 2012 through reapportionment resulted in by both being elected to different seats. This election is a sequel where he will face Peterson again.

The voters of 51B voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They voted Tom Emmer (R) over for Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Morgan voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Financially, the advantage is clearly with Rep. Morgan. He has been rigorously door knocking through the district. As a school teacher from the area he has good name recognition and his race is one where the DFL House Caucus is spending liberally. His Senate District is still able to weigh in heavily to assist in the effort.

Due to finances, high visibility and hard work we expect contrary to others Morgan to prevail.

DFL House Candidate

Will Morgan (DFL-56B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $22,305.09

Total Receipts                         $25,681.83

Total Expenditures                  $20,369.40

Ending Cash Balance              $27,717.52

Republican House Candidate

Roz Peterson (R-56B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $  8,998.71

Total Receipts                         $25,852.00

Total Expenditures                  $  5,533.89

Ending Cash Balance              $29,316.82

56th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  4,084.61

Total Receipts                         $  2,973.96

Total Expenditures                  $  4,044.03

Ending Cash Balance              $  3,299.54

56th Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,648.39

Total Receipts                         $  6,382.67

Total Expenditures                  $ 1,249.67

Ending Cash Balance              $ 7,781.39

Other Races to Watch

We are hearing positive information for candidate Eric Bergeson (DFL) in his quest to unseat Rep. Debra Kiel (R-01B, Crookston). Rep. Kiel secured the seat in 2010 with the Republican tide and survived in 2012 beating her opponent Marc Demers (DFL) by 716 votes.

In District 01B, voters supported Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012. They also voted in favor of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They supported Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Kiel voted in opposition of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Bergeson has a solid financial advantage and with the race in the 7th Congressional District between Collin Peterson (D-MN07) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-12, Elbow Lake). The heightened awareness could bring out more voters, which would be of benefit Bergeson.

Republican House Candidate

Deb Kiel (R-01B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $16,855.15

Total Receipts                         $16,154.00

Total Expenditures                  $  9,456.39

Ending Cash Balance              $23,552.76

DFL House Candidate

Eric Bergeson (DFL-01B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $         0.00

Total Receipts                         $40,076.00

Total Expenditures                  $12,808.30

Ending Cash Balance              $27,367.70

1st Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,931.41

Total Receipts                         $  3,064.00

Total Expenditures                  $  3,541.84

Ending Cash Balance              $  2,453.57

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

 

Rep. Steve Green (R-02B, Fosston) edged out former Rep. Brita Sailer (DFL) by 383 votes in 2012. Since arriving in St Paul he has carried his social conservative credentials quite proudly and the question is could he be too far right for this district?

In District 02B, voters supported Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012. They also voted in favor of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Green voted in opposition of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

His opponent David Sobieski (DFL) has succeeded in matching him financially and if the DFL has surplus resources this could be a pick-up able to offset loses elsewhere. We mark this as a race-to-watch.  

Republican House Candidate

Steve Green (R-02B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $10,538.12

Total Receipts                         $  9,870.40

Total Expenditures                  $10,724.11

Ending Cash Balance              $  9,684.41

DFL House Candidate

David Sobieski (DFL-02B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $ 5,057.40

Total Receipts                         $12,047.88

Total Expenditures                  $ 8,516.71

Ending Cash Balance              $ 8,566.87

2nd Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  9,731.06

Total Receipts                         $  5,164.87

Total Expenditures                  $13,619.49

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,276.44

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

District 08B had the tightest election last Rep. Mary Franzen (R-08B, Alexandria) survived a recount and won by 12 votes over Bob Cundiff (DFL). Franzen is known for her interesting comments and YouTube video comparing welfare recipients to feral animals.

In District 08B, voters supported Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012. They also voted in favor of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Franzen voted in opposition of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Republican House Candidate

Mary Franzen (R-08B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $11,609.85

Total Receipts                         $14,341.00

Total Expenditures                  $15,943.04

Ending Cash Balance              $10,007.81

DFL House Candidate

Jay Sieling (DFL-08B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $        0.00

Total Receipts                         $15,360.96

Total Expenditures                  $ 8,281.07

Ending Cash Balance              $ 7,179.89

8th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  4,092.52

Total Receipts                         $  3,807.00

Total Expenditures                  $ 7,738.72

Ending Cash Balance              $     160.80

 

We are highlighting House District 14A, Rep. Tama Theis (R-14A, St Cloud) as one to watch because the incumbent won in the 2013 Special Election in the three-way race. This election is in St Cloud, a college town, though not on the campus side of the city. Financially, both sides are evenly matched and due to financial challenges for the Republican House Caucus and the Minnesota Republican Party this race could draw resources needed elsewhere.

In District 14B, voters supported Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012. They also voted against of the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They supported Tom Emmer (R) over Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Theis voted in opposition of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

We expect this seat will remain in Republican hands with Rep. Theis, but we also expect Dan Wolgamott (DFL) to give her a run for the money. Wolgamott is known in the area as a realtor and football coach.

Since there is an open Congressional District, which is expected to remain in Republican hands with Tom Emmer (R) turnout could be lackluster.

Republican House Candidate

Tama Theis (R-14A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $15,090.43

Total Receipts                         $  8,445.26

Total Expenditures                  $21,636.83

Ending Cash Balance              $41,941.17

Dan Wolgamott (DFL-14A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $11,076.83

Total Receipts                         $18,445.00

Total Expenditures                  $  5,586.53

Ending Cash Balance              $24,035.30

Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-24B, Fairbault) is seen by some as representing a swing seat, but we differ with that idea. After being elected in 2004 her closest election was in 2010 against Dan Kaiser (R) and she survived by 152 votes. In 2012, she soundly defeated Kaiser with 1780 votes.

The voters in 24B voted for Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012, but opposed the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Fritz, who is Catholic, voted against civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

We expect she will be returning to St Paul in January.

DFL House Candidate

Patti Fritz (DFL-24B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $  7,247.86

Total Receipts                        $12,390.00

Total Expenditures                  $  2,877.75

Ending Cash Balance              $16.760.11

Republican House Candidate

Brian Daniels (R-24B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $    100.00

Total Receipts                         $  6,144.08

Total Expenditures                  $12,656.13

Ending Cash Balance              $11,270.48

24th Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,923.35

Total Receipts                         $  2,266.00

Total Expenditures                  $  1,595.71

Ending Cash Balance              $  3,593.64

There is no Republican Senate District Committee.

In 2012, Rep. Bob Barrett (R-32A, Lindstrom) defeated former Sen. Rick Olseen (DFL) by 393 votes. Granted it was a Presidential election year, but the strength of the Republican base and message should be read from races like this one.

We are not expecting any upset this election, but the assessing strength of the Republican brand in the ex-burbs. DFL candidate Laurie Warner does have money some to work with in her bid to unseat Rep. Barrett and could lay a foundation for 2016.

The voters in 24B voted for Mitt Romney (R) over President Barack Obama (D) in 2012, and supported the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Tom Emmer over (R) Mark Dayton (DFL) in 2008.

Rep. Barrett voted against civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

We are watching this race to see the margin of victory.

Republican House Candidate

Bob Barrett (R-32A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $18,103.83

Total Receipts                         $16,398.00

Total Expenditures                  $13,864.08

Ending Cash Balance              $20,637.75

Laurie Warner (DFL-32A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $        0.00

Total Receipts                         $16,230.00

Total Expenditures                  $  3,590.31

Ending Cash Balance              $12,839.69

32nd Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,015.02

Total Receipts                         $  7,993.00

Total Expenditures                  $  7,613.44

Ending Cash Balance              $  2,769.58

32nd Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  3,282.10

Total Receipts                         $  6,118.79

Total Expenditures                  $  6,704.96

Ending Cash Balance              $  2,695.93

We are watching District 42B mainly because of the small financial edge Heidi Ann Gunderson (R) has over Rep. Jason Isaacson (DFL-42B, Little Canada). Now we may see something different with the October 27th report, but the early money favors the challenger.

The voters in 42B voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and supported the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Isaacson voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Gender politics may be a factor here favoring the female candidate in a suburban seat and may require Rep. Isaacson to work harder.

DFL House Candidate

Jason Isaacson (DFL-42B) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $  5,201.22

Total Receipts                         $13,455.93

Total Expenditures                  $11,442.80

Ending Cash Balance              $  7,214.35

Republican House Candidate

Heidi Ann Gunderson (R-42B) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $  9,193.88

Total Receipts                         $13,391.50

Total Expenditures                  $  6,811.27

Ending Cash Balance              $15,774.21

42B House District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $  2,073.22

Total Receipts                         $  2,361.26

Total Expenditures                  $  2,946.01

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,788.47

There is no DFL House District Committee.

42nd Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $11,138.08

Total Receipts                         $     923.02

Total Expenditures                  $11,005.22

Ending Cash Balance              $  1,055.88

In District 43A, there is a significant financial advantage for challenger Stacey Stout (R) over freshman incumbent Peter Fischer (DFL-43A, Maplewood).

The voters in 43A voted for President Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, and supported the Amendment Banning Gay Marriage. They also supported Mark Dayton (DFL) over Tom Emmer (R) in 2008.

Rep. Fischer voted in favor of civil marriage between persons of the same gender in 2013.

Other than on the financial side most of the factors favor the Democratic candidate, but again this is a race-to-watch to see if any trends emerge.

DFL House Candidate

Peter Fischer (DFL-43A) Incumbent

Starting Cash Balance             $12,922.37

Total Receipts                         $13,887.51

Total Expenditures                  $12,208.38

Ending Cash Balance              $14,701.50

Republican House Candidate

Stacey Stout (R-43A) Challenger

Starting Cash Balance             $  4,647.11

Total Receipts                         $29,348.00

Total Expenditures                  $  3,369.23

Ending Cash Balance              $30,625.88

43rd Senate District DFL

Starting Cash Balance             $  5,229.00

Total Receipts                         $  2,675.00

Total Expenditures                  $  7,727.80

Ending Cash Balance              $     176.20

43rd Senate District RPM

Starting Cash Balance             $     501.99

Total Receipts                         $  2,116.00

Total Expenditures                  $  2,099.90

Ending Cash Balance              $     518.09

This election there’s one open seat DFL considered a swing district currently held by retiring Rep. John Benson (DFL-44B, Minnetonka). This seat pits a DFL candidate with high name recognition Jon Applebaum (DFL) Grandson of Stuart Applebaum of grocery store fame, faces Ryan Rutzick (R) in this case we give the nod to Applebaum.

Pragmatic prognosticators doubt that the DFL will pick up any of the Republican seats and we see a potential of one or two pick-ups.

Can the Perception of Extreme Social Issues Hurt DFL House Majority Chances

We are hearing conversations about the possibility of social issues affecting the DFL’s chances democratic chances in greater Minnesota legislative districts.

In 2012, the state rejected the Constitutional Amendment to enshrine discrimination in our  state’s Constitution with a ban on Gay Marriage. After this battle the legislature passed Gay Marriage and a number of DFLer’s in vulnerable districts voted for the measure. Later in 2014, they also voted for stronger anti-bullying legislation, which was discussed in terms associated with protections for student’s largely signaled out because of their sexual preferences.

Today the MN High School League was scheduled to take up the issue of trans-gendered athlete, but postponed the vote.

We are not saying these issues are unimportant, but if the perception of the legislature being dominated by a Twin Cities, permissive culture prevails, candidates in more conservative areas of the state may have to account for the perception.

If this occurs it could jeopardize DFL’s chances to retain the majority specifically because social issue create reactionary responses.

MNSure Announces Lowest Insurance Rates in the Nation

Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman met with reports today to highlight the insurance rates and carriers for MNSure. In his comments he spent a good amount of time discussing the departure of PerferredOne from the program the impact on rates. Republicans were quick to point out the dramatic rate increases in specific coverage categories, but we will point out the most signicant changes were in the lower cost programs. During his comments Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) was quick to anyone can cherry pick through the program, but this is not a government run program the rates and the coverage are left to the companies that participate in the program and the free market is in effect.

We asked Dayton his feelings when comparing Minnesota to Wisconsin and he said, “I always like to see us better off when compared with Wisconsin.” In the chart provided the Minneapolis/St Paul region shows cost around $180.00 while the costs for Millwakee were around $390.00. One fact stated Minnesota has the lowest health care costs in the nation and the average increase is 4.5%.

The companies involved in MnSure are: Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Blue Plus (Affliated with Blue Cross & Blue Shield), Health Partners, Medica and UCare.

The NFL Moved by the Velvet Glove

People following the saga of Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL, may wrongly believe the decision by Anheuser-Busch was the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced Zygi Wilf rescind his decision to reinstate Peterson. We believe the real power to change the outcome was the first shot fired by the Radisson Hotels.

Remember Radisson Hotels is synonymous with Marilyn Carlson Nelson. Carlson Nelson is #1114 on Forbes Billionaires list and she carries significant weight in Minnesota political circles. We speculate Carlson Nelson put in doubt support for the Super Bowl 52. This message of possible erosion for the biggest NFL annual event in 2018 would send shivers through the 32 owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The course change in less than 24 hours proves something dramatic occurred and we believe Carlson Nelson to be the catalyst for change.

Additionally, some criticized Govern Mark Dayton (DFL) for weighing in on the issue saying, “It is an awful situation. Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be “innocent until proven guilty.” However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota. Whipping a child to the extent of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state. Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accusations of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system.

“However, I will not turn my back on the Vikings and their fans, as some have suggested. The Vikings belong to Minnesota – and in Minnesota. This has been the team’s only home; and our citizens, including myself, have been its most dedicated fans.”

We do not. The Vikings are a public asset, and they are beholden to the citizens of Minnesota for the new stadium. When people come to the public trough for support it comes with specific entanglements and this is an example.

The 180 by the Vikings vindicates Dayton’s statement and will likely improve his acceptance with women voters come November.