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Talking Points: Democrats Fight Themselves Over New Senate Building

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This legislative session has stalled out with battles over a proposed $90 million Senate office building and a proposed minimum wage increase.

But the battle is not between Republicans and Democrats – it’s the Democrats who are fighting amongst themselves.

With Democrats controlling the Minnesota House and Senate as well as the governor’s office, it’s the Democrats who are battling with each other over key issues.

No issue is more divisive than the proposed Senate office building.

Key House Democrats say the building is too expensive and are looking for an alternative. Gov. Dayton has even called the building “un-Minnesotan.”

Republicans meanwhile are enjoying sitting on the sidelines, with some predicting the building is so controversial that it will result in Democrats losing their majority in the Minnesota House in November.

Political analyst and Hamline Law Professor David Schultz appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

‘You have the potential to bring back something you saw in 2010, where we had the perfect storm that swept Republicans into office,” Schultz said. “Clearly, the Senate is not up for re-election, but take this issue, take a couple of other divisive issues – anti-bullying legislation, minimum wage – and there may be a mix there to help Republicans in the 2014 elections.”

The new building may end up being tied to a compromise on raising the minimum wage, another issue dividing Democrats.

Senate Majority leader Tom Bakk wants to let voters decide on a minimum wage increase and whether it should be tied to inflation in a constitutional amendment.

Other Democrats say a minimum wage hike doesn’t belong in the constitution.

For Democrats in the House, these debates are dicier. All House members, as well as the governor, are up for re-election in November.

The Minnesota Senate isn’t up for reelection until 2016.

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