Minnesota Senate flips to Democrats

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen, left, and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, appear at their debate at the studios of KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minn., on Tuesday, Oct. 18. 2022. It was their only scheduled televised debate of the campaign. (Ben Mulholland/Gray Television via AP, Pool)

Democrats will claim a majority in the Minnesota state Senate for the first time since 2014, giving the party complete control over what had been one of America’s few divided state government.

Democrats claimed victory in at least 34 of 67 seats in the state Senate, with several seats yet to be decided. 

In two competitive districts, Republicans led by margins of less than two-tenths of a percentage point, a matter of only a few dozen votes and well within recount territory.

Republicans had been optimistic about reclaiming control of the state House, where Democrats held a narrow majority. But late Tuesday, state House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R) called House Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) to concede defeat. Democrats expanded their majority to a single seat, claiming 70 of the 134 seats in the state House.

The results give Gov. Tim Walz (D), who won re-election to a second term Tuesday night, his first Democratic majority in the state legislature. 

The Minnesota Senate marked at least the third legislative chamber to change hands after Tuesday’s midterm elections. Democrats also claimed control of Michigan’s state House and Senate, though strategists on both sides are closely watching unresolved chambers in New Hampshire, Oregon and Nevada.