MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The political earthquake that shook the country on Election Day hit the Minnesota Legislature in St. Paul, too, causing a major shift in power.
Some call it “The Donald Trump Wave:” A mass of Republican voters that swamped Democrats, paving the way for the Republican Party to take complete control of the Minnesota House and Senate.
Pre-election predictions had House Republicans losing seats to Democrats — or even losing their slender Majority. Instead, they added to it.
“We really feel that voters spoke loud and clear yesterday,” Minnesota Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said. “They want a check and balance on Governor Dayton’s last two years in office.”
When the new legislature convenes in January, House Republicans will hold a 19-seat, 76-57 Majority. An even bigger surprise in the Senate: Underdog Republicans flipped six Democratic seats to capture a razor-thin 34-33 Majority.
But Republican Senate Minority Leader David Hann — a 14-year-veteran of the office — lost his west-suburban legislative seat to first time office seeker Steve Cwodsinski.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis elected the nation’s first Somali-American legislator, Democrat Ihlan Omar.
Republicans credit their new majorities to a relentless campaign targeting skyrocketing health care premiums.
Democratic Governor Mark Dayton is now pressing top legislative leaders for a special legislative session to fix it.
“Minnesotans are very closely divided,” Dayton said.
The surprising election results mean divided government at the State Capitol in St. Paul. Dayton warned Minnesotans not to expect quick results.
“It’s going to be unrealistic for Minnesotans to send a group of people that are closely divided and have very deep differences and expect that it’s all going to be peace and harmony,” said Dayton. “It’s not.”