MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Outside money is pouring into Minnesota political campaigns, but its not just in the race for Governor and Attorney General.
More than $7 million of outside money is funding Minnesota state legislative races. Who controls the legislature determines how much could be spent on everything from education, to infrastructure to the size of your tax bill.
There are 134 seats in the House, and Republicans have current control with 77 seats. Democrats need to gain 11 to take control; every one of those seats is up for election. With many of these elections decided by a few hundred or fewer votes, every vote really does matter.
It’s been the capitol of gridlock. With Democrat Mark Dayton as governor and both the Minnesota Senate and House in Republican hands very little has gotten done in recent sessions. At a meeting of the pro-gun control group Minnesota Moms Demand Action earlier this week, leaders vented.
“We met with our senators, we met with our legislators,” Erin Zamoff said. “And what did they do? They did nothing.”
The group’s Facebook site shows a list of campaign events for pro-gun control Democratic representatives.
But Republicans are saying, not so fast. Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt says the issue of firearms will favor Republicans.
WEB EXTRA: WCCO Election Guide 2018
“We believe we have the right message,” he said. “We believe Minnesotans are behind the solutions that we have brought forward.”
Daudt is convinced Republicans will hold onto control, although he admits key house races are likely to be very close.
“The closest I remember was one vote,” he said. “If people think their vote won’t matter, this is one of those elections where your vote does matter. You do need to get out and vote.”
With polls showing Democrat Tim Walz leading Republican Jeff Johnson, the stakes are even higher for Republicans to keep the House.
“If Republicans lose the gubernatorial race, they are counting on that state House remaining Republican as a way to check the incoming Democratic governor,” Humphrey School professor Larry Jacobs said.
The Minnesota Senate is also up for grabs because of one special election. The chamber is divided, 33 Democrats and 33 Republicans. The special election is for the district in the Paynesville area near St. Cloud. DFL Candidate and Sartell mayor Joe Perske faces Republican State Rep. Jeff Howe.