Democrats win Minnesota Senate to control state government

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2022

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MINNEAPOLIS — Democrats have taken control of both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature, putting the party in full control of state government for the first time since 2014.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller conceded Wednesday morning that his party had lost its majority to Senate Democrats. That followed a concession earlier Wednesday from GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and the re-election of Democratic Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday night.

While several legislative races were yet to be called as of Wednesday morning, Democrats appeared to be on pace to exceed the 68 seats they need to preserve their majority in the House, while Democrats appeared to have the 34 seats they need to control the Senate.

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All 201 seats were on the ballot but millions of dollars poured into a couple dozen legislative races that were considered truly competitive.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs were the main battleground but districts on the Iron Range and some other Greater Minnesota communities were also in play. Republicans pledged to fight crime and inflation, while Democrats vowed to defend abortion rights.

Going into the election, Minnesota was one of only three states, in addition to Alaska and Virginia, where legislative control was divided. But Minnesota has a long history of divided government.

The current split control in the Legislature — with Democrats running the House and the governor’s office with Republicans holding the Senate — meant gridlock this year, when the parties adjourned the legislative session without agreeing on how to use most of a $9.25 billion budget surplus. The only time Minnesota saw single-party control in the past 30 years is when Democrats held full power in 2013-14.