When I left the GOP victory party last night around 1 am CT, the Republicans had just scored an amazing victory in both chambers of the state legislature. At the beginning of Election Day with the DFL holding a 84-47 majority in the House and a 46-21 majority in the Senate. As of now, the Republicans have majorities of 73-61 and 36-31, respectively. That’s the first time that Republicans have controlled the upper chamber since Minnesota allowed party affiliations in those races in 1974.
However, Republicans lost almost all of the statewide constitutional offices again, except for the gubernatorial contest. They may have lost that one, too, but they may also have won it. Wih 95.77% of precincts reporting, the gap is 10,000 votes in favor of Mark Dayton over Republican Tom Emmer — which will mean another recount:
Democrat Mark Dayton, an earnest liberal who ran on a tax-the-rich platform, was clinging to a lead by a thread over Republican Tom Emmer early today in Minnesota’s race for governor.
With 99 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Dayton, a former U.S. senator making his second bid for governor, polled 43.7 percent of the vote to Emmer’s 43.2 percent. Independence Party candidate Tom Horner conceded defeat late Tuesday night after receiving 12 percent of the votes.
Dayton’s advantage was less than 10,000 votes out of nearly 2 million cast.
That is virtually certain to require a recount.
It’s not the only reason we’ll see a recount. Hennepin County, which includes the city of Minneapolis, originally reported 880,000 votes, even though only 706,000 are registered to vote there. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who won re-election last night, had egg on his face as his office had to make a large correction (in favor of Tom Emmer) around 11 pm last night. That alone will probably necessitate a recount, at least in Hennepin.
Let’s hope that the GOP learned its lesson from the last recount here in Minnesota. Emmer isn’t likely to be going into this with eyes blindered about the task being some sort of collegial gather-’round-the-campfire effort. It will be as hard fought as an ugly divorce with no pre-nup, and it will take a while.
On the Congressional front, we had one cause for celebration. Chip Cravaack unseated Jim Oberstar in the 8th CD, barely squeaking by with four thousand votes, to retire one of the Democrats thought untouchable just a few months ago. The 8th has been a stronghold for the DFL — it went for Dayton last night — and Cravaack was running his first campaign. Current GOP members of the House delegation easily won re-election: John Kline, Michele Bachmann, and Erik Paulsen. Teresa Collett, Lee Byberg. Randy Demmer, and Joel Demos fell short of unseating their incumbent opponents, with Demmer coming closest to winning.