This op-ed, written by John Hinderaker, was originally published on Powerline.
Minnesota could be the decisive battleground in November, and the national media are beginning to notice. The Associated Press reports: “Democrats’ hopes to take House could stumble in Minnesota.”
For all the talk of a blue wave sweeping Democrats back into the House majority this fall, their efforts could be thwarted in one of the nation’s bluest states.
I would say, formerly one of the nation’s bluest states. Minnesota is moving to the right.
Voters in the sprawling farm country south of Minneapolis and in the economically struggling Iron Range along the Canadian border give Republicans in those two congressional districts perhaps their best chance anywhere for flipping Democratic seats. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in November to retake the House, but the odds grow long if they lose districts they currently hold.
That is exactly right. There are only four rural Congressional districts still held by Democrats, and three of them are in Minnesota. All three will flip to the GOP before long; in all likelihood, two will change hands in November. The state’s 1st District (southern Minnesota) and 8th District (northeastern Minnesota) both have open seats this year. In the 8th, Republican Pete Stauber is a heavy favorite. In the 1st, the Republican candidate will be decided in next Tuesday’s primary, but whichever candidate prevails should win in November.
The Democrats are trying to even the playing field by going after my Congressman and friend, Jason Lewis. As I wrote here, CNN is leading the charge on behalf of Jason’s opponent, Angie Craig, whom he defeated in 2016. The Democrats’ campaign is based on a handful of sentence fragments from Jason’s 20-plus years as a radio talk show host. It could be worse, of course: last time they suggested that Jason was pro-slavery.
Minnesota’s House races are attracting most of the attention, but we also have two Senate races this year, one of which is competitive. I wrote here about GOP Senate nominee Karin Housley, who is running an extremely impressive race and is now beginning to draw national money. Sensing a possible victory, luminaries like Tom Cotton have entered the fray on Karin’s behalf. I am an inveterate optimist, so take it for what it is worth, but I think Karin is going to win. If she does, the Democrats’ long-shot hope of capturing the Senate is dead.
And that’s not all: both parties have the most competitive primaries in the race for governor that I have seen in a long time, if ever. On the Republican side, former Governor Tim Pawlenty is seeking to make a political comeback, but faces tough resistance from Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who was the party’s nominee in 2014.
So keep a close watch on Minnesota from now until November. The fate of the next Congress might very well be decided here. And if you want to help, you can go here to contribute to Pete Stauber’s campaign, here to contribute to Jason Lewis’s campaign, and here to donate to Karin Housley’s campaign.