In Minnesota, Democrat Mark Dayton has apparently bucked the trend and eked out a victory in the governor’s race by less than one-half of one percent. If the result stands, as I would guess it will, this will be the first time Minnesota Democrats have won the governor’s office since 1986, a generation ago. That hurts.
But the hand of the Wave did not pass over Minnesota. The elections of 2006 and 2008 left Republicans in a deep hole in the state legislature, with Democrats holding nearly veto-proof majorities. Almost unbelievably, however, Republicans have taken both the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate. Republicans have not held a majority in the Minnesota Senate since state law was modified to require ballots to show partisan designations. That was two generations ago, in 1972. Governor-elect Dayton just had a monkey wrench thrown into his big plans for income tax increases. Dayton now confronts something like the mirror image of the situation that Governor Pawlenty has dealt with over the past four years.
And perhaps simply unbelievably, to me anyway, Republican challenger Chip Cravaack unseated 18-term incumbent Democratic porkmeister Jim Oberstar in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District, 48-47 percent. The Wave that carried Republicans to the majority in the House of Representatives and John Boehner to the Speakership of the House has given us Rep.-elect Cravaack. Cravaack proved himself a wonderful candidate for the Eighth Congressional District, but Republicans have not held this seat since 1946, three generations ago. Few observers other than Michael Barone and Ed Morrissey actually thought that Cravaack would win, and I have to think Ed was writing in the subjunctive mood when he predicted Cravaack’s victory.
Folks, it was a mighty storm that produced that Wave.
UPDATE: Reader Mark Kaplan corrects me: “The partisan ballot for Minnesota legislative contests was enacted after the 1972 election to take effect for the 1974 election. The DFL gained both houses in 1972 and partisan ballots were part of their platform. Wendy Anderson was governor and signed the legislation which I believed passed in the 1973 session.”
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