The last time Minnesota had two US Senate seats up for consideration was in 1978. The election widely referred to as the Minnesota Massacre, because of the long-standing victories by the DFL Party candidates for offices up and down the ticket came to a crashing halt. Democratic worriers were quick to make the linkages between 1978 and 2018 when Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) appointed Lt Governor Tina Smith (DFL-MN) to fill the vacancy created by Senator Al Franken’s (DFL-MN) resignation.

We will reiterate our assumption in the Checks & Balances Index 43% DFL 37% Republican 20% Independent.

The quote from Edmund Burke bears repeating, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”

That Was Then

In 1978, Dave Durenberger (IR-MN) was elected over Bob Short (DFL-MN), who had defeated Congressman Don Fraser (DFL-MN) in the Primary, to the open seat made available after Muriel Humphrey (DFL-MN), who filled the balance of her husband former Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey II’s remaining term, did not seek the seat in her own right. In the other race, Rudy Boschwitz (IR-MN), a locally renown pitchman for his company Plywood Minnesota, defeated former “Golden Boy” Governor Wendell “Wendy” Anderson (DFL-MN) who had resigned office to be appointed to the seat vacated by Walter Mondale (DFL-MN) by his successor Governor Rudolph G Perpich (DFL-MN).

Perpich himself was a candidate for reelection lost to Congressman Al Quie (IR-MN). The eight-member Congressional Delegation was split four-to-four with notable names on both sides of the aisle. Arlen Erdahl (IR-MN01) was elected in his first term to the seat vacated by Quie, Congressman Thomas Hagedorn (IR-MN02) was reelected to his third term, Congressman Bill Frenzel (IR-MN03) to his fifth term, Congressman Bruce Vento (DFL-MN04) to his second-term, Martin Olav Sabo (DFL-MN05) to his first-term, Congressman Rick Nolan (DFL-MN06) to his third-term, Arlen Stangeland (IR-MN07) to his first full term after a Special Election in 1977 and Congressman James Oberstar (DFL-MN08) to his third term.

Additionally, another historic moment occurred, the 134-member State House resulted in 67-67 tie.

This information is drawn from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office and on file in the Legislative Reference Library.

This Is Now

US Senate

Two women hold the US Senate seats for the first time in state history US Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) is seeking her third-term against Jim Newberger (R-MN) and US Senator Tina Smith (DFL-MN) faces State Senator Karin Housley (R-MN).

In polling, Klobuchar leads with as much as 30-points over Newberger and Smith up to a 9-point advantage over Housley.

The 538 Model has Klobuchar with a 99 in 100 chance of winning or 99.9%.

In four polls, Real Clear Politics shows a significant lead for Klobuchar, well outside of the margin for error averaging 22.3%.

The 538 Model has a 9 in 10 chance of Smith winning the seat or 90%.

In three polls, Real Clear Politics shows a lead for Smith with an average of 7.6%.


All of the Constitutional Offices are up for consideration with Congressman Tim Walz (DFL-MN01) squaring off against Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R-MN). Every poll on this race shows Walz with an advantage and the latest stretched it out to 9-points over Johnson.

There have been four polls on this race two from inside the state and two from outside. Each shows Walz with a lead and the highest amount is 9-points and the lowest 5-points with a 7-point average and only one has him not exceeding 50%+1 with the margin of error.

Attorney General

One other notable election for Attorney General pits Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL-MN05) against a former State Representative Doug Wardlow (R-MN). Ellison election is a point of high attention because he is experiencing his own #MeToo allegations. We are hearing Ellison is down 4-points in recent polling.

The polling on this race is in a virtual tie, which is largely attributed to Ellison losing votes with women and will not likely carry the full Democratic based in his election. Two news sources are seeking to open Ellison’s sealed divorce records to see if they contain anything relevant to the allegations. We expect the votes for Noah M Johnson (Grassroots-Legalize Canabis) will be far higher in this raace compared to anyother same party candidate on the ballot.

Four of the Eight Congressional District contests are poised to see a potential shake-up and could change the current balance from five DFLers to three Republicans to the same mix overall, but with a shift in certain seats. The Twin Cities media market is flooded with commercials both pro and con for candidates in each of these contests.

1st Congressional District

The open seat created with Walz’ departure to seek statewide office, just as Quie did in 1978, pits former Assistant Secretary of Defense Dan Feehan (DFL-MN01) against Jim Hagedorn (R-MN01). Hagedorn is running for the third-time and narrowly lost to Walz in a district carried by Donald J Trump by nearly 15-points. Trump held an event in the district last week in Rochester.

Real Clear Politics labels this race as a Toss-up.  To date no polling is available.

2nd Congressional District

The south suburban 2nd Congressional District seat won by former Conservative Radio Talk Show host Jason Lewis (R-MN02) is a repeat performance with Challenger Angie Craig (DFL-MN02) is highly likely to flip this election. Lewis bested Craig by only 1.79% but there was a third-party candidate in the race which drew close to 8% of the vote, in a district carried by Hillary Clinton by 1.19%.

There have been two polls in this race. The Ny Times Poll is showing Craig with as much as a 12-point lead over Lewis.

3rd Congressional District

This contest between Erik Paulsen (R-MN03) who has by all accounts the closest voting record to Trump with 98% and Phillips Distributing Millionaire Executive Dean Phillips (DFL-MN03). This district went strongly for Clinton with 9.36% of the vote.

A KSTP Survey/USA Poll, which is viewed as having a conservative bias shows Phillips with a plus 5-point advantage over Paulsen.

538 Model shows a 5 in 6 Democratic win or an 82.5% advantage for Phillips compared to a 1 in 6 or 17.5% chance Paulsen wins. All of the polling in the district give Phillips the advantage. In each of the polls Phillips wins outright or when combined with the margin of error.

Finally, the 8th Congressional District opened by the retirement of Nolan has former State Representative Joe Radinovich (DFL-MN08) who lost his house seat in 2014 largely due to his support for Gay Marriage. Against St Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber (R-MN08). Trump carried the district by 15.39% and has campaigned in the district for Stauber.

There is one poll in this race Ny Times/Sienna showing Radinovich with a 1 point advantage.

Internal polling for Radinovich also shows a 1-point advantage.

If there is a blue tide election in Minnesota it could crash on the shores of the great Gitche Gumee or travel the state like the glacier did. The Trump support is rooted in what is called Greater Minnesota, but his tariff war with the Chinese is having a splotchy impact throughout the state. On the Iron Range the steel tariffs are popular because they help shore-up the taconite industry, but in the agricultural communities the impact on soybeans and pork are having the opposite effect. The question is will farmers support Republican candidates at Trumps request?

Federally, the retention of the two US Senate seats and potential pick-ups in two Republican held seats makes this a very dynamic election in the Land O’ 10,000 Lakes, even when true Minnesotans know there are 11,082 lakes in total.

Just as in the book turned into a movie by SE Hinton called That Was Then This Is Now, which was filmed in Minnesota, the concept of what happened in the past looks incredibly interesting when viewed in current considerations like the Trump Era and the #MeToo movement.

This election should settle the dispute of whether Minnesota is a blue or a purple state.