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Reality Check: One-Party Control

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Republican Mary Franson won re-election to her Minnesota House seat by just 12 votes, defeating Democrat Bob Cunniff after a lengthy recount in a district where some voters were given the wrong ballots.

Franson’s narrow victory is one of this year’s few bright spots for Minnesota Republicans, who lost both the House and Senate by wide margins.

One-Party Control

Voters gave Democrats one-party control of the Minnesota statehouse for the first time in a generation. Democrats are in charge for the first time since 1990, when Rudy Perpich was governor.

And one-party control is not just in Minnesota. It’s in a remarkable 74 percent of states. You’ve got to go back all the way to 1952 — when Harry Truman was president — to find so many state capitols controlled by a single political party.

In Minnesota, the new Senate leader called the outcome a voter reaction to years of “crisis government.”

“People are tired of the gridlock. They are tired of the bickering. I think you are starting to see that play out in elections, not just in Minnesota, but across the country,” said Sen. Tom Bakk.

Whatever the reason, Bakk is right about the trend.

In fact:

– 37 states now have one party controlling the House, the Senate, and the governor’s office.
— 24 statehouses are Republican.
— 13 are Democrat.
— 12 are split.

But that’s not the whole story.

Democrats may have a majority in Minnesota, but they don’t have a “supermajority,” like many other state legislatures.

Twenty-five states now have veto-proof statehouses, meaning the party in power can pass whatever it wants, and override any governor’s veto.

The Surrounding Political Landscape

Minnesota is one-party Democratic control. But Republicans rule in Wisconsin and in the Dakotas. Iowa is one of the few remaining states that are split.

Why is the one-party trend happening now?

A number of reasons:
— Redistricting.
— Partisan divisions, harshness, gridlock.
— Obama or Romney turnouts.

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