All 201 seats in the Minnesota Legislature are up for re-election this year and due to the new redistricting maps, there are also 8 open senate districts. The current partisan breakdown of the Minnesota Senate is 37 seats for the GOP, 30 seats for the DFL. The Senate DFL Caucus needs to pick-up 4 seats currently held by the GOP to win control of the Minnesota Senate. But the new redistricting map released on February 21, 2012 by the Minnesota Supreme Court Redistricting Panel favors the Senate GOP Caucus over the Senate DFL Caucus because of population shifts in the last decade.
The Senate DFL Caucus does have significantly more cash-on-hand to spend on the races than the Senate GOP Caucus – but the Senate DFL Caucus has to focus on more races to win control of the Minnesota Senate. I will have more analysis on the fundraising numbers of the legislative caucuses later this week.
In 2010, the Senate GOP defeated 16 Senate DFL incumbents. There are not many more Senate DFL incumbents to defeat – Republicans have already won most of the available seats. The focus for the Senate GOP this election will be defending seats won in 2010 and winning as many of the open senate districts as possible. There are a few open seats the Senate DFL will win, so their likely path to winning control of the Minnesota Senate is by defeating Senate GOP incumbents.
As I noted in my post yesterday, the Senate GOP and Senate DFL caucuses will likely battle head-to-head in 10 races or less. Below is my list of the top-ten senate races to watch. These races will ultimately decide who controls the Minnesota Senate. I’ve also added an additional “on-deck” list of races that could be included in future lists. I will be updating the top-ten list over the coming weeks based on developments on the campaign trail. It’s 65 days before the election, so any predictions would be meaningless at this point as many things will change over the coming weeks. But as we get closer to election day, I’ll add more analysis along with predictions on who will be victorious on Election Day.
Top-10 Senate Races to Watch
On-Deck to Watch
Please leave a comment if you have thoughts or input on the races I selected. Please check back to politics.mn for more analysis this week on the legislative elections.
UPDATE: I’ve received some great feedback on my list of top-ten races to watch. Former Senator Carrie Rudd is running against Taylor Stevenson in the new Senate District 10. From my sources, Rudd is running a great campaign and I think she is in strong position to win in November, therefore I didn’t include this race on my list. I added Senator Jeremy Miller to my top-ten list because he won by 437 votes in 2010. This race could fall off the top-ten list very quickly, as Senator Miller is in a strong position to win re-election. Thanks again for all of the feedback on the races I selected.