Rick Nolan cruised to a surprisingly strong victory over Rep. Chip Cravaack in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional district. DFLers swept all but a couple northern Minnesota legislative seats, including a sweep of the SD5 “incumb-off” races and key pickups elsewhere. The DFL won the State House and State Senate by convincing margins, bringing a dramatically new dynamic for the next budget session.
Both constitutional amendments — one limiting marriage and one requiring photo ID to vote — failed. Not only did they fail, but they failed with a majority “no” vote that did not require the blank ballots to be counted against them.
President Obama carried the state comfortably and Sen. Amy Klobuchar won a crushing 30-point victory in the Senate race.
Before the election few expected a “wave.” Rather most expected a race-by-race scrum. But what we got was a clear DFL wave with all northern Minnesota State Senate and all but a couple northern House seats going to the DFL. In the SD5 incumbent vs. incumbent series, Sen. Tom Saxhaug defeated Sen. John Carlson, Rep. John Persell handily beat Rep. Larry Howes, and Rep. Tom Anzelc had a solid win over Rep. Carolyn McElfatrick.
I’m going to get a little sleep now, but I’d make the following snap obsservations:
- The amendments backfired badly on Republicans. Good thing. Those issues should be handled by the legislature.
- Northern Minnesota and MN-8 will hold DFL advantages in presidential years, but DFLers cannot be complacent in midterm elections, as Republicans will always be competetive those years.
- Rick Nolan’s win appears to be similar to the margin that statewide Democrats usually enjoy in MN-8. In other words, the district returned to index. Nolan did not win by pre-2010 Oberstar levels — no one probably can from now on. But you can still plausibly call it a DFL-leaning district.