Why Republicans In The DFL Majority Twin Cities Shall Decide The Governor’s Race

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In November 2016 Hillary Clinton won Minnesota’s presidential electoral majority by just a tiny 1.67 percentage points.  However, in the metro, she beat Trump 70 to 30%, a huge 40 percentage point margin of victory in a medium sized voter segment.  Trump won the remainder of the state by a margin of 58 to 42%, a smaller, but still significant, 16 percentage point margin.  

There are two critically important implications from these data:  First, if Trump had increased his metro share of the 870,000 metro votes cast by 5.2%, his share of the metro vote would have increased only modestly to 35.4% from his actual 30.2% share.  This small shift would have given Trump victory in the entire state of Minnesota.  In 2010, an even smaller metro increase would have made Emmer rather than Dayton our governor.

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This morning I had breakfast with a younger long-time friend who lives in Edina, Minnesota.  He brought his father to join us.  I knew my friend to be an enthusiastic Trump supporter from the 2016 election; but I had not met his dad before, so his politics were unknown to me.  But as so often happens this political season, the conversation soon swung to politics.

DAD: “Jim (to me) have you decided for whom you’ll vote?”

ME: “Yes, I decided a year ago.  I’ll be voting the entire Republican ticket.  We can win it all.”

DAD: “I don’t think so.  You must live in Edina too?”

ME: “Nope, I live close to here, but our home is across the border in south Minneapolis.”

DAD: “I live in Minneapolis too.  That means we’re both in the 5th congressional district, Keith Ellison’s former seat, which means we’ll just be watching the Democrats vote.”

MY FRIEND: “Dad, Edina is also in the 5th congressional district.  However, whether we lose the 5th again, the big deal this year is the governor and state-wide officer elections.  We have the much better candidates.  We just need ‘city Republicans’ like you to turn out.”

DAD: “How does my vote overcome the Democrat majority in Minneapolis?”

MY FRIEND: “We don’t need a majority downtown.  Almost all of rural Minnesota shall be voting Republican.  All we have to do is have enough Republican votes in the city that – when added to the Republican rural and small town majorities – we exceed 50%.

ME: (to Dad) “Republicans can lose the metro by about 30 points, and still help the non-metros and small towns enough to have Jeff Johnson become governor.” 

DAD: “I didn’t realize any of this.  I’ll be voting this time for sure.”

ME: “It’s only a little over five percentage points.  We can do this.”

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