MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s bracing for a Republican-controlled Legislature next year.
Republicans expanded their majority in the state House in Tuesday’s election. They were on the brink of taking over the Senate, though the final makeup won’t be official until automatic recounts proceed in St. Cloud and Plymouth. Republican candidates had the edge there in unofficial totals.
Dayton says “it certainly appears” that the GOP will control both chambers. The Democratic governor has two years left on his term.
Dayton made headlines last month for calling President Obama’s Affordable Care Act “no longer affordable” for Minnesotans. Now, that issue will likely be the focus point of the Republican-ruled capitol.
Dayton said he didn’t think his comments on the Affordable Care Act were to blame for the Republican gains in Minnesota.
“I think the failures of the Affordable Care Act, I spoke the truth. The administration acknowledged that a few days later — 25 percent increases in the federal exchange. So, I may have provided the point of the spear, but the spear was handed to them by the rising insurance prices,” Dayton said.
He also said, of Hillary Clinton, “I’ve never been more proud of her.”
Democrats were protecting a six-seat Senate majority but suffered heavy losses especially in rural districts.
The dynamic parallels 2011, when Dayton and a majority Republican Legislature deadlocked and a 20-day government shutdown resulted.
Dayton said Wednesday he’s willing to compromise but also criticized GOP lawmakers as extremists that year. Republicans lost power in both chambers in the 2012 election.
The Democratic governor says divided government is a consequence of Minnesota’s divided electorate.
Tuesday night, House Speaker Kurt Daudt spoke at the Minnesota Republican campaign headquarters in Bloomington. He says the results showed very clearly what Minnesotans want.
“Together we will put forward an agenda that will grow Minnesota’s economy and get rid of MNsure and Obamacare in the state of Minnesota,” he said.
Nationwide, Republicans will now dominate the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House for the first time in nearly a century.
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