Because of Trump, the DFL Senate Majority is Expanding its Target List

The 2016 Target List for the DFL was originally set at 24, and has now been expanded to 26. Additionally, four other seats have risen to higher priorities and more likely victories because of the candidacy of Donald J. Trump (R). Recent polling reveals a far stronger opposition to Trump which is driving down the base vote and creating greater opportunities for down ballot races.

The original Target List included seven open seats, with five previously held by the DFL, protection for nine DFL incumbents, of which three are first term incumbents, and eight potential pick-ups. They are: SD-01 open seat, Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-04, Twin Valley)- incumbent,  Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-10, Breezy Point)-incumbent, Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-12,Elbow Lake)-incumbent, SD-14 open seat, Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL-17, Clara City)-incumbent, SD-19 open seat, Sen. Kevin Dahl (DFL-20, Northfield)-incumbent,  Sen. Matt Schmit (DFL-21, Red Wing)-incumbent, Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL-24, Owatonna)-incumbent, Sen. Carla Nelson (R-26, Rochester), Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-28, Winona)-incumbent, SD-32 open seat, Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-36, Champlin)-incumbent, SD-37- open seat, Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-38, White Bear Lake), Sen. Karin Housley (R-39, St Mary’s Point), SD- 44- open seat, Sen. David Hann (R-48, Eden Prairie)-incumbent, Sen. Melissa Franzen (DFL-49, Edina), Sen. Jim Carlson (DFL-51, Eagan), Sen. Dan Hall (R-56, Burnsville)-incumbent, Sen. Greg Clausen (DFL-57, Apple Valley, and SD- 58-open seat.

After polling results the DFL is adding two more Republican incumbents to the list Sen. David Osmek (R-33, Minnetrista)-incumbent, and Sen. Warren Limmer (R-34, Maple Grove). They are also elevating four more to higher priorities as potential pick-ups, Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-38, White Bear Lake), Sen. Karin Housley (R-39, St Mary’s Point), Sen. David Hann (R-48, Eden Prairie), and Sen. Dan Hall (R-56, Burnsville).

This means the DFL is targeting the Minority Leader, an Assistant Minority Leader and the Minority Whip.  If the DFL is successful in the bulk of these races the Republican Minority will not even be necessary to pass a Bonding Bill.

Senate Republicans Are Actively Engaged in their Own Targeting Efforts

Recent opposition mailers have hit in the districts of Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL-02, Clearbrook), Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-04, Twin Valley), Sen. Lyle Koenen (DFL-17, Clara City), Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL-24, Owatonna, and Sen. Matt Schmit (DFL-21, Red Wing). The expectation is this is the initial salvo to see if there is any traction for Republicans in Greater Minnesota.  If they fail to move the needle, it is assumed they will circle the wagons and try to protect what little they already have.

Once they learn of the increased offensive against the 10 seats mentioned above the wagons might circle even more rapidly.

Because of Trump, the DFL House Caucus is Following a Similar Targeting Strategy.

As we stated previously, polling data is showing Donald J. Trump (R) is a drag on the GOP ticket and is creating opportunities for the DFL House Minority to recapture seats lost in 2014 and potential gain seats in the suburban districts. They too are expanding their 2016 Target List.

Originally, the DFL House Target List included the 11 seats lost in the 2014 election, the Special Election loss in Bloomington and the four open seats. The 2014 losses are: Rep. Dave Handcock (R-02A, Bemdji) Josh Heintzeman (R-10A, Nisswa) Rep. David Lueck (R10B, Nisswa), Jason Rarick (R-11B, Brook Park), Rep. Jeff Backer (R-12A, Browns Valley), Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-14B, St Cloud), Rep. Tim Miller (R-17A, Prinsburg), Rep. Dave Baker (R-17B, Willmar), Rep. Brian Daniels (R- 24A, Faribault), Rep. Peggy Bennett (R-27A, Albert Lea), Rep. Drew Christensen (R-56A, Burnsville) and Rep. Roz Peterson (R-56B, Lakeville)  The target after the January Special Election is Rep. Chad Anderson (R-50B, Bloomington).

The DFL is seeking to retain the seats of retiring members in Eden Prairie 48A and Rochester 25B and pick-up the two seats made possible by the in flagrante delicto of Rep. Tim Kelly (R-21A, Red Wing) and Rep. Tara Mack (R-57A, Apple Valley).

In this case their Target List is also expanding to include: Majority Leader Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-34A, Rogers), and first term incumbent Rep. Dennis Smith (R-34B, Maple Grove), Rep. Mark Uglem (R-36A, Brooklyn Park), Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-38A, Cirlce Pines) and Rep. Matt Dean (R-38B, Dellwood), and Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-39B, Stillwater).

The House DFL will intensify its campaigns against Rep. Drew Christensen (R-56A, Burnsville) and Rep. Roz Peterson (R-56B, Burnsville).

2016 State Fair Polls

We at Checks & Balances are continuing our tradition of publishing the State Fair Polls found at the State Fair booths in the Education Building.

Official Ballot

 Minnesota House of Representatives 2016 State Fair Poll

  1. Do you support an increase in the metro area sales tax to fund mass transit, including bus and light rail projects?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. Should criminal background checks be required on all gun sales, including private transactions and at gun shows?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. Should schools and businesses be required individuals to use restroom and locker room facilities based on biological sex, as defined by birth?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. Should government agencies and institutions be required to obtain parental consent before disclosing personally identifiable data on students to a third-party, other than law enforcement?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. Would you support increasing the states 28.5 cents per gallon gas tax by at least 10 cents to help fund highway and bridge need to cross the state?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. An ignition interlock device requires users to blow into a breathalyzer device on their vehicles dashboard; if the device detects the presence of alcohol the vehicle will not start. Should everyone convicted of DWI be required to use such a device for a prescribed time before they can retain full driving privileges?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. Should it be mandatory that employees in workspaces with six or more workers accumulate one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 40 hours of accrual each year?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. When a mentally capable adult is dying from a terminal illness, do you think this adult should be allowed to receive prescription for life-ending medication they may self-administer?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. Should it be illegal to talk on a wireless communication device while driving?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. Should the state provide an additional income text credit of up to $5000 for principal and interest payments on student loans?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. From 1913 until 1973, the Minnesota legislators were elected a nonpartisan ballot, meaning there was no political party designation for individual members. Should legislators be elected without political party designation?

Undecided/ no opinion

  1. State legislators currently earning $31,140 annually, and they are eligible for additional per diem and other expenses. Should an independent, citizens only council be created to set salaries for legislators? This question will be on the November 2016 ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment?

Undecided/ no opinion




State Senate

 2016 State Fair Poll Questions (Choose one answer per question)




Minneapolis/St. Paul

Rural Suburban Regional hub of at least 40,000 people (Rochester, Duluth, St. Cloud, Mankato, Moorhead)

Another state

No answer






65 and older

No answer

  1. Should Minnesota regulate and tax the operators of online fantasy sports games (which are not to be confused with online video games), similar to the way the state currently regulates and taxes providers of lawful gambling like pull-tabs, tipboards, raffles and bingo (e.g. requiring vendors to register, pass background checks and submit to financial audits).



c.Undecided/No opinion

  1. What should the consequence be for a student that engages in violent behavior towards a teacher?

a. The student should be removed from class until the school principal decides that they can return to class

b.The student should be expelled after the school district’s due process is met

c.The student should be suspended after the school district’s due process is met

d.The student should be provided with an alternative to suspension or expulsion that allows the student to stay in school

e.Undecided/No opinion

  1. Because of the effects on bees and other pollinators, which of the following should the legislature enact to restrict the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids?

a. Totally ban the use of neonicotinoids for home and agriculture use
b. Ban the use of neonicotinoids at the consumer level (home use and pretreating plants purchased for the home), while still allowing neonicotinoids to be used for agriculture purposes by those who are trained in their use
c. Maintain the current law requiring the proper labeling of neonicotinoid use on plants, but do not regulate the use of specific insecticides or products
d. Undecided/No opinion

  1. Before a doctor prescribes an opioid, should the doctor be required to check a database that contains the patient’s history of use of controlled substance prescriptions to prevent inappropriate use?

a. Yes
b. No
c. Undecided/No opinion

  1. To what extent should the use of unmanned aerial devices (drones) by law enforcement and government to observe citizen activity and collect evidence be regulated or limited by state law?

a. Prohibit them from conducting surveillance of a person on public or private property without a warrant, except in emergency situations
b. Prohibit them from conducting surveillance of a person on private property without a warrant, except in emergency situations
c. Unlimited except when in violation of the Constitution’s illegal search and seizure prohibition
d. Undecided/No opinion

  1. Should Minnesota pass legislation that would prohibit individual cities from requiring a minimum wage and other employee benefits that exceed or are different from state law, such as sick time and family leave?

a. Yes
b. No
c. Undecided/no opinion

  1. How should the members of the Metropolitan Council be selected? (The Council is a Twin Cities regional governance entity that’s responsible for transit, wastewater collection and treatment, affordable housing, regional planning and other issues. All 17 Council members are currently appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate.)

a. Continue the current process where the governor appoints members that are subject to state Senate confirmation
b. The governor should appoint only locally elected county or city officials to the Council
c. City councils and county boards should appoint locally elected city or county officials to the Council
d. The governor should appoint members that are subject to local government approval e. Residents of the metropolitan area should elect Council members
f. Undecided/No opinion

  1. When a mentally competent adult is dying from an incurable and irreversible medical condition that is expected to end the individual’s life within six months, do you think this individual should be allowed to obtain from a physician a prescription for medication that may be self-administered to end that person’s life?

a. Yes
b. No
c. Undecided/No opinion

  1. Should the Legislature prohibit muskie from being stocked in waters where they haven’t previously been stocked?

a. Yes, prohibit stocking in any new lakes that do not already have a known muskie population
b. No, allow the stocking of muskie in selected new lakes as determined by the DNR
c. Enact a temporary moratorium on muskie stocking in new lakes until a study is completed about the effects of muskie stocking on other game fish populations
d. Undecided/No opinion

  1. State law requires pedestrians to obey traffic-control signals when crossing the street. However, in the absence of traffic-control signals, the law gives the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk. Which of the following options would best safeguard pedestrian safety and reduce the number of pedestrian-vehicle collisions? (Select only one answer.)

a. Increase enforcement of the existing right-of-way law, and post additional signs and warning lights
b. Increase the penalty for first violation of the existing law from the current maximum fine of $1,000 and maximum imprisonment of 90 days
c. Both a and b.
d. Change the pedestrian right-of-way law to provide that a pedestrian may not enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic
e. Repeal the pedestrian right-of-way law, in order to eliminate any false sense of security that it gives
f. Undecided/No opinion

  1. If Minnesota has a projected budget surplus prior to the 2017 legislative session, what should be the top priority for its use? (Select only one answer.)

a. Put it in a “rainy day” reserve fund
b. Make permanent tax reductions
c. Return the money to taxpayers in the form of a onetime rebate
d. Increase spending on infrastructure needs such as transportation
e. Increase spending on education
f. Increase spending on other priorities
g. A combination of tax rebate/tax reduction/additional spending/rainy day reserve fund
h. Undecided/No opinion

  1. Should Minnesota enact a law requiring employers to provide paid-family leave to employees for up to 12 weeks a year to care for the employees own serious illness, a family member with a serious health condition, bonding with a new child or for pregnancy? (The program would be paid for by a new payroll tax on employers and employees and would provide an employee with partial wage replacement.)

a. Yes
b. No c. Undecided/No opinion

13.Would you be in favor of restricting the sale or transfer of firearms to Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealers only? This would ban private sales of firearms between individuals, at gun shows or elsewhere, that take place without a background check.
a. Yes
b. No c. Undecided/No opinion

14.How often do you contact your state legislator with a question or concern?
a. Four or more times a year
b. At least twice a year
c. Once every year or two
d. I have contacted them previously but not in the last several years
e. Never, but I know who my legislators are
f. Never, and I don’t know who my legislators are

Schedule of Legislators at the State Fair

Schedule of State Representatives at MN State House of Representatives Booth

Location: Education Building

Thursday, Aug. 25

 10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul)

Friday, Aug. 26

 10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater), Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park)

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron), Rep. Abigail Whelan (R-Anoka)

Saturday, Aug. 27

 10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. John Persell (DFL-Bemidji)

Sunday, Aug. 28

 10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines)

Monday, Aug. 29

 10 a.m. to noon: Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Barb Yarusso (DFL-Shoreview)

Tuesday, Aug. 30

 10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley)

Thursday, Sept. 1

 Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Drew Christensen (R-Burnsville), Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Mpls)

Saturday, Sept. 3

 Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington)

Sunday, Sept. 4

 Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa)


Schedule of Senators at MN State Senate Booth

Location: Education Building

 Thursday, August 25th

 10 a.m. to Noon.: Senator Melisa Franzen (Senate District 49)

3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Senator Charles Wiger (Senate District 43)

4 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (Senate District 30)

Friday, August 26th

 10 a.m. to Noon.: Senator Kevin Dahle (Senate District 20)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Senator Matt Schmit (Senator District 21)

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Senator Michelle Benson (Senate District 31)

Sunday, August 28th

 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Senator Gary Dahms (Senate District 16)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Senator David Osmek (Senate District 33)

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Senator Sandy Pappas (Senate District 65)

Monday, August 29th

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Senator Bruce Anderson (Senate District 29)

Tuesday, August 30th

 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Senator Dave Osmek (Senate District 33)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Senator Roger Chamberlain (Senate District 38)

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Senator Bev Scalze (Senate District 42)

Wednesday, August 31st

 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Senator David Tomassoni (Senate District 6)

1 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Senator Lyle Koenen (Senate District 17)

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Senator Jim Abeler (Senate District 35)

Thursday, September 1st

 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Senator Greg Clausen (Senate District 57)

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Senator John Hoffman (Senate District 36)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Senator Carrie Ruud (Senate District 10)

Friday, September 2nd

 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Senator Scott Dibble (Senate District 61)

1 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Senator Dan Hall (Senate District 56)

Saturday, September 3rd

9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Senator Chris Eaton (Senate District 40)

Sunday, September 4th

 Noon to 2 p.m.: Senator Carla Nelson (Senate District 26)

1 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Senator David Senjem (Senate District 25)

Monday, September 5th

 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Senator John Hoffman (Senate District 36)

Noon to 2 p.m.: Senator Foung Hawj (District 67)

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Senator Jim Carlson (District 51)

From Fender Bender to Pounded Rear Ender

On January 21, 2016, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-30A, Crown) was reportedly late to a meeting with Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook). The only reason we have found was a tweet by Pioneer Press reporter Rachel Stassen Berger “Am told #mnleg Speaker Daudt was delayed because of a fender-bender. He’s fine but delayed.” When he arrived with staffer Ben Golnik, he said, “Let’s get this party started.”

Now, we have learned the accident was far more than a fender bender, Daudt rear ended another vehicle and both cars were totaled. There was no citation given to Daudt and it is unclear how he arrived at the governor’s residence from the accident location. These question beg the question as to whether the Speaker was given special treatment, or was his trip to St Paul facilitated in anyway by law enforcement? We are unclear. The other driver received medical attention later in the day and we understand he is now, taking up a civil action against Daudt.

A review of Daudt’s motor vehicle driving record shows he was convicted of texting while driving in 2013. The legislature passed restrictions on texting while driving in 2015 and the item went into effect on August 1st of that year. Daudt voted in favor of the provision.