The Battle for the Minnesota Legislature: The Minnesota House of Representatives

All 201 seats in the Minnesota Legislature are up for re-election this year and due to the new redistricting maps, there are also 15 open house districts.  The current partisan breakdown of the Minnesota House of Representatives is 72 seats for the GOP, 61 seats for the DFL, with one open-seat.  The House DFL Caucus needs to pick-up 6 seats currently held by the GOP to win control of the Minnesota House of Representatives. But in my opinion, the new redistricting map released on February 21, 2012 by the Minnesota Supreme Court Redistricting Panel favors the House DFL Caucus over the House GOP Caucus because of where the court drew the open house districts.

The House DFL and House GOP caucuses have relatively the same amount of money to spend on legislative races – unlike in the Minnesota Senate, where the Senate DFL Caucus has a significant cash-on-hand advantage over the Senate GOP Caucus.  I will have more analysis on the fundraising numbers of the house caucuses later this week.  

As I noted in my post on Monday, the House GOP and House DFL caucuses will likely battle head-to-head in 15-20 races or less. Below is my list of the top-20 house races to watch, listed numerically by house district, Republican candidates first. These races will ultimately decide who controls the Minnesota House of Representatives. 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 63 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-20 House Races to Watch

#1. Representative Dave Hancock vs Roger EricksonHouse District 2A

#2. Steve Green vs. former State Representative Brita SailerHouse District 2B

#3. Travis Reimche vs. Benjamin Lein – House District 4A

#4. Representative Larry Howes vs. Representative John PersellHouse District 5A

#5. Representative Carolyn McElfatrick vs. Representative Tom AnzelcHouse District 5B

#6. Travis Silvers vs. Erick Simonson – House District 7B

#7. Ben Wiener vs. former State Representative Tim Faust – House District 11B

#8. Representative King Banaian vs. Zach DorholtHouse District 14B 

#9. Brian Wermerskirchen vs. former State Representative David BlyHouse District 20B 

#10. John Petersburg vs. Craig Brenden – House District 24A 

#11. Representative Bob Barrett vs. former Senator Rick OlseenHouse District 32B 

#12. Mark Uglem vs. Grace Baltich – House District 36A 

#13. Mandy Benz vs. Jerry NewtonHouse Distrct 37A

#14. Russ Bertsch vs. Barb Yarusso – House District 42A 

#15. Reid Johnson vs. Mike FreibergHouse District 45B 

#16. Bill Glahn vs. former State Representative Ron ErhardtHouse District 49A

#17. Terry Jacobson vs. former State Representative Paul RosenthalHouse District 49B

#18. Representative Doug Wardlow vs. Laurie HalversonHouse District 51B  

#19. Derrick Lehrke vs. Dan SchoenHouse District 54A

#20. Roz Peterson vs. former State Representative Will MorganHouse District 56B

On-Deck to Watch

Representative Mary Franson vs. Bob Cunniff  – House District 8B

Jeffrey Howe vs. Richard Bohannon – House District 13A 

Brenna Bly vs. Representative Tina Liebling – House District 26A

Representative Greg Davids vs. former State Representative Ken Tschumper – House District 28B 

Representative Kathy Lohmer vs. Thomas DeGree – House District 39B

Ken Rubenzer vs. Jason Isaacson – House District 42B

Stacy Stout vs. Peter FischerHouse District 43A

Representative Diane Anderson vs. former State Representative Sandy Masin – House District 51A

Please leave a comment if you have thoughts or input on the races I selected.  Please check back to for more analysis this week on the legislative elections.


  1. Michael,
    what is your analysis of Draz-Montplaiser?

  2. Representative Drazkowski has a great grassroots organization…I’ve heard nothing to make me think he isn’t in a comfortable position to win.

  3. Michael, What can the residents of 51A look forward to with the Anderson/Masin rematch?

  4. Please correct the spelling of my name in the 11B race.

  5. Take a look at 52B. The Paul Tuschy campaign has a real shot to remove Joe Atkins.

  6. How would you bet Stout/Fisher in 43A? Just curious as to how it’s “on deck”…

  7. I fixed the spelling of your name Ben – sorry for the error.

  8. Pingback: The Battle for the Minnesota Legislature: The Minnesota House of Representatives: The Fundraising | - An inside view of Minnesota politics by Michael Brodkorb

  9. As much as I would like to see the legislature return to mature, rational leadership, in other words DFL, if the GOP retains control, will we see a more pragmatic GOP or is it going to remain ideologues, posing as adults? Honestly the MNGOP is the sorriest bunch of pretenders I have ever seen.

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