Election 2016

Races That Could Help Flip Control of the Minnesota Legislature

By Melissa Turtinen | November 2, 2016 | SOURCE: GoNews | PHOTO: RPETEG

Control of the Minnesota Legislature is on the line Tuesday, with all 201 seats up for grabs.

The opportunity to flip control of the Minnesota Legislature has gotten President Barack Obama’s attention (he endorsed eight Democratic state House candidates last week) and big-time donors. The Pioneer Press reported independent groups have spent more than $16.6 million on state House and Senate races, while candidates themselves have thrown in an additional $8 million.

Here’s a look at a few races that could determine what party controls the House and Senate.

Minnesota House

Democrats are hoping to take control of the House by winning at least seven Republican districts – while hoping no currently Democrat districts flip Republican. The GOP took control of the House after the 2014 election, and are hoping to hold that advantage. Here are three districts that could be key.

House District 14B – currently Republican

This race is a rematch from 2014 between Republican Rep. Jim Knoblach and Democrat Zach DorholtBack in 2014, Knoblach won 50.2 percent of the vote to unseat Dorholt.

House District 14B covers parts of Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties, including the cities of St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids.

House District 17B – currently Republican

This race is also a rematch from 2014, with Democrat Mary Sawatzky challenging Republican Rep. Dave BakerBack in 2014, Baker unseated Sawatzky, a one-term representative at the time.

“Whoever wins Willmar likely will have the majority in the House,” Rep. Dave Baker told the Fergus Falls Journal. “That is why we are getting so much attention.”

House District 17B covers most of Kandiyohi County and includes the city of Winona.

House District 56B – currently Republican

First-time candidate Lindsey Port is hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Roz Peterson in the Dakota County district.

This district is known to flip flop. In 2014, Peterson ousted the incumbent Democrat Will Morgan by winning 53.99 percent of the vote. Morgan lost to a Republican in 2010, but then won the seat back in 2012, before losing it again in the last election.

Minnesota Senate

Republicans are hoping to take control of the Senate by winning at least six districtscurrently held by DFL lawmakers. The GOP is targeting the seats in districts Mitt Romney won in 2012 (the DFL controls six districts of those districts, the Star Tribune said).

Here are a few we could see flip this year.

District 17 – currently Democrat

Republican Andrew Lang is looking to unseat Democrat Lyle Koenen, who flipped the district from Republican to Democrat in 2012. Romney won this district in 2012, and it has two GOP House members, MPR News said.

Senate District 17 includes the counties of Chippewa, Kandiyhoi, Renville and Swift.

Senate District 44 – currently Democrat

This district has been targeted by Democrats and Republicans over the years, but a Democrat won the seat in both 2010 and 2012.

This year, there isn’t an incumbent running (Democratic Sen. Terri Bonoff decided to run for U.S. Congress). So Republican Paul Anderson, a former Republican staffer, and Democrat Deb Calvert, who has worked for DFL officials in the past, are vying for the seat.

Senate District 21 – currently Democrat

Republican Mike Goggin is looking to unseat Democratic Sen. Matt Schmit in a district that’s flip flopped between Democrat and Republican for years.

Schmit unseated a Republican incumbent four years ago, earning just over 52 percent of the vote.

See original article here.