Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – One of the biggest election night, surprises came at the State Capitol where Minnesota Republicans lost their majorities in the House and Senate.
Democrats now control the legislature and the governor’s office for the first time since 1990.
Republicans struggled on the morning after, blaming their devastating losses on what they called well-funded, fear-driven, dirty Democratic campaigns against them.
“It was negative, and it played on people’s anxieties and fears,” said Rep. Matt Dean. “We were pushing a positive message with really good candidates.”
Republicans did not campaign on the legislature’s signature controversial achievement — a Vikings stadium.
Voters appeared to punish the GOP for the state government shutdown. Then there was irritation over Republican ballot questions on Voter ID and gay marriage.
The soon-to-be former House Speaker said Republicans campaigned on the economy, and predicted Democratic control will hurt middle class families.
“I cant wait to see what they are going to do for me, because I dont know how higher taxes in a down economy is going to be an improvement,” said Rep. Kurt Zellers.
The new Democratic powers-that-be promise their focus will be jobs and the economy only. No social issues — including gay marriage.
“It is time to leave the campaign behind,” said Sen. Tom Bakk. “The election is over.”
Told of the GOP remarks, Gov. Mark Dayton pulled from his coat pocket a copy of Mitt Romney’s concession speech, offering it as good advice.
“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing,” Dayton repeated.
The Democrats will have a 73-61 majority in the Minnesota, and a 39-28 advantage in the Senate.