Minnesota’s 2012 Democratic legislative campaigns started about two years ago. The exact date depends on who you ask.
A national organization that focuses on electing Democrats to state legislatures has put four Minnesota candidates on its list of 60 races to watch.
The Senate District 49 race has resulted in the largest haul so far with more than $100,000 in political contributions. Campaign finance reports have revealed this and a lot more, including some notable financial mismatches as well as challengers bringing in more than incumbents.
Olseen was first elected to the state Senate in 2006, but was dealt significan defeat in 2010 when he lost to GOP Sen. Sean Nienow by nearly 13 points.
House and Senate races across the state are rapidly shaking out after the release of the 2012 legislative map last month. And with local endorsing conventions set to take place throughout March, incumbents and challengers alike have little time to make decisions about their political futures.
A slew of former DFL and GOP legislators announced campaigns for House and Senate districts this week, including Carrie Ruud, a former Republican senator from Breezy Point, former DFL Rep. David Bly of Northfield, former DFL Sen. Kevin Dahle and former DFL Rep. Paul Rosenthal.
In previous legislative sessions, proposals to expand gambling have attracted more support from Republicans than DFLers. Given Minnesota's $5 billion state budget deficit and the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate, gambling proposals would seem to stand a much-improved chance of landing on the governor's desk as part of a budget agreement.
Late last week, three of the principal architects of the Republicans' Minnesota Senate takeover gathered in Sen. Amy Koch's office for one last time to talk about how they'd pulled it off.
The restructuring of the caucus and its chairs by a new leadership team is widely expected to produce a decidedly conservative shift on the part of Senate Republicans, who in recent years have built a more centrist track record than their increasingly conservative House colleagues.
Political action committees and legislative caucuses have already done mailings assailing the opposition. But now that the campaign has entered the final month, the rough-and-tumble race for the Legislature is kicking into high gear.
Hours after Tuesday's DFL primary, the Minnesota GOP launched a TV ad attack calling DFLer Mark Dayton "erratic" and wondering out loud what frequency he was on.
Around convention time in the spring, Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, boasted that his caucus would retake the chamber’s majority in November. Considering Senate Republicans’ 38-year stranglehold on minority status, and the 13 seats that his troops will need to gain to make good on the pledge, it amounts to a tall order.
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