GOP looks to notch biggest gains in Minnesota House since 1978, though lower chamber takeover still difficult

Current partisan split
DFL: 87
Republican: 47

Incumbents
DFL incumbents: 80
Open DFL seats: 7
Republican incumbents: 39
Open Republican seats: 8

Unchallenged seats
No DFL on the ballot: 4
No Republican on the ballot: 0

Analysis
The DFL was able to flirt with a 90-seat veto-proof majority in the State House during the last few election cycles thanks to a large number of competitive races that tilted in their direction during the Democratic waves of 2006 and 2008.

In 2008, the DFL won 18 seats by less than 10 points, including 10 of these that they also won by less than 10 points in 2006. Another four were pick-ups in 2008.

The GOP will not run the table on all of these seats currently held by the DFL in 2010, but Republicans will likely also capture a few other districts that were won by the DFL outside of single digits two Novembers ago.

All told, while history predicts the GOP will gain 19 seats – precisely the current DFL advantage in the House – the fact that Republicans will not have a strong candidate at the top of the ticket in the gubernatorial race commanding a majority of the vote will hurt its chances to rack up this many wins.

Still, gains on par with or likely exceeding the elections of 1984 (11 seats) and 1994 (13 seats) are certainly in the cards. (The 10-seat GOP gains in 2002, though substantial, are less appropriate examples from which to draw as they took place during the first election after new district lines were created).

Projection
Partisan shift: GOP +14
Partisan control: DFL hold

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. Minnesota Central on November 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Did I miss the forecast for MN-Governor ?

    Looks like if the assumption is a sizeable pick-up in the MN-House and MN-Senate and a victory for Congresswoman Bachmann and competitive races in the 1st and 8th Districts, should we presume that Tom Emmer should be the next Governor ?

    What areas (or districts) do you see the shift from DFL to MN-GOP ?
    Are there any seats that you project as “Guaranteed” and how many are “Too close to call” … in other words in the 14 House seats that you see moving, do you also see the potential for more ?