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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Minnesota House races

The Star Tribune has a story today about the prospects for change in the Minnesota House. Since the governor and senate aren't up for election this year, the house is where all energies will be focused.

Currently, the Republicans hold an advantage of 81 to 53, one of their largest ever. This came about in a lopsided election two years ago, when Republicans won nearly every close race. The story says that Republicans believe they will lose no more than three to five seats; however, I have heard that Speaker Steve Sviggum is privately saying that they could lose from seven to ten seats.

I think the higher range is practically a given, for a couple of reasons. First, this is a presidential election year, when DFLers tend to do better. Second, last election was a fluke, when Republicans won nearly every close race. This year, things will probably be more divided. There are 10 open seats that were formerly held by Republicans, compared to one open seat held by a Democrat (and that seat is in Minneapolis, so it will remain in Democratic hands). Finally, there is a lot of activism going on related to the presidential election, and that is trickling down to state elections. The DFLers should have a very motivated base this time around.

It's only August, though, and anything can happen. Barring a hugely controversial event, however, like the Wellstone memorial that had a huge impact on elections two years ago, things look good for some significant DFL pickups in the House, with retaking the majority a possibility.

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