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Voters return Republicans to power in House

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt answers questions at a post-election news conference, surrounded by many members of the new House majority party. Republicans will have a 72-62 seat advantage in the House for the 2015-16 biennium. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Compromise was the key word Wednesday after big Republican victories in Tuesday’s elections wrested control of the House of Representatives away from the DFL.

Two years after being swept from legislative power by a wave of DFL victories, Republicans picked up wins in a number of key rural races to capture a 72-62 edge in the House, ending two years of one party control of Minnesota’s state government.

“I’m proud to say that Democrats' total control of state government in Minnesota has come to an end,” said current House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) during a news conference Wednesday.

The DFL will retain control of the governorship, with Gov. Mark Dayton easily winning re-election to a second term. The Senate, under DFL control, did not stand for election. The Legislature is scheduled to convene Jan. 6, 2015.

Needing seven seats to seize control of the 134-seat House, Republicans picked up 11 — 10 from rural districts, and one from a metro area district. State Canvassing Board members are scheduled to meet Nov. 25 to certify Tuesday’s results.

Both Dayton and Daudt said Wednesday they hoped Minnesota’s again-divided Legislature wouldn’t lead to a partisan stalemate at the Capitol. The House DFL did not hold a media availability. 

House Republican post-election media availability

“Whoever is their speaker, whoever are their committee chairs, they're going to have to decide: are they going to do what they did in 2011 and jam everything up, refuse to compromise, and take us to a stalemate and a shutdown?” Dayton said at a morning news conference, referencing a 2011 state government shutdown precipitated by a budget showdown between the governor and legislative Republicans.

Both sides, the governor said, will need to come together to find agreement. “It takes two to tango, and you can’t dance alone.”

Daudt expressed hope that Dayton, the DFL-held Senate and Republican House would find common ground. “That’s going to be up to the Democrats,” he said. “Ultimately, we want to do what’s best for the state of Minnesota.”

Confirming he will seek to be elected Speaker of the House when the Republican caucus meets on Friday to fill leadership positions, Daudt said some rural DFL members had grown out of touch with their districts as their party pursued metro-centric policies the past two years.

Creating more and better-paying jobs are his new majority’s top priority, Daudt said, along with fixing the state’s fledgling health care exchange and funding Minnesota’s roads and bridges. Dayton also identified transportation as a top priority for the 2015-2016 session.

The governor offered caution, however, should the House’s new Republican majority want to roll back some of the roughly $2 billion in tax increases signed into law since 2013.

“If you want to cut taxes, or not raise taxes, then you need to deal with the other side of the financial ledger,” he said. “Where are you going to cut? That will be the acid test.”

What’s next?

The House DFL caucus is also anticipated to fill leadership positions later this week. Committee structure is expected to be laid out later this month, and committee membership is traditionally formalized in December.

Close call

The District 48A race between Rep. Yvonne Selcer (DFL-Minnetonka) and former Republican House member Kirk Stensrud was decided by 36 votes in favor of Selcer. Stensrud could request a recount.

Election Directory

Our 2014 Election Directory detailing the new 2015-2016 legislature is now available.


New members-elect (unofficial)

Dave Hancock (R) District 2A

Josh Heintzeman (R) District 10A

Dale Lueck (R) District 10B

Jason Rarick (R) District 11B

Jeff Backer (R) District 12A

Jim Knoblach (R) District 14B

Tim Miller (R) District 17A

Dave Baker (R) District 17B

Bob Vogel (R) District 20A

Brian Daniels (R) District 24B

Nels Pierson (R) District 26B

Peggy Bennett (R) District 27A

Eric Lucero (R) District 30B

Dennis Smith (R) District 34B

Abigail Whelan (R) District 35A

Jim Nash (R) District 47A

Kelly Fenton (R) District 53B

Bob Loonan (R) District 55A

Drew Christensen (R) District 56A

Roz Peterson (R) District 56B

Jon Koznick (R) District 58A

Jon Applebaum (DFL) District 44B

Jennifer Schultz (DFL) District 7A

Jack Considine (DFL) District 19B

Cheryl Youakim (DFL) District 46B

Dave Pinto (DFL) District 64B

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