Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Minnesota elections in 2014

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June 17, 2014

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2014 Minnesota Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

State legislative elections in Minnesota, which are only being held for the House this year, present enough competition to be considered one of Ballotpedia's battlegrounds for 2014. Many districts are likely to maintain a comfortable if not strong partisan lean, but 14 Democratic districts and 24 Republican districts are considered to be competitive or mildly competitive based on Ballotpedia's analysis of margins of victory in 2012.[1] Just over 87 percent of seats will feature a general election race between one Republican and one Democrat, if not also a member of the Independence Party of Minnesota as in a handful of districts. Because of that, the House will not see much primary action with only seven being contested for either party, but five Democratic incumbents face a primary challenge.

June 3 was the signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election. Elections for 134 House districts will consist of a primary election on August 12, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections and Minnesota House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Democratic Party holds a majority in both state legislative chambers. Minnesota's office of Governor is held by Mark Dayton (D), making the state one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 12 seats. In 117 of the 134 districts up for election, two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

Minnesota House of Representatives
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 73 62
     Republican Party 61 72
Total 134 134
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Margin of victory

All 134 seats in the House were up for election in 2012. Seventeen of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Another 21 districts held mildly competitive elections with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[1] Races held this year in competitive districts include:


Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In Minnesota's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[2]

  • There are 15 open seats (11.2%) in the House.
  • A total of 5 incumbents (3.7%) face a primary challenger.
  • 117 districts (87.3%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing Minnesota Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 11.9% 27 5.1% 42 97.0% 4 38.0 24
2012 25.4% 16 7.6% 40 96.0% 3 43.0 13
2014 11.2% Pending 3.7% Pending 87.3% Pending 34.0 Pending

The following table details competitiveness in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Minnesota House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
11.2% 3.7% 87.3% 34.0

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 17 (12.7%) of the 134 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of five Democrats and 12 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 117 (84.8%) of the 134 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of five incumbents, all Democrats, will face primary competition on August 12. Fifteen incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 114 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state representatives facing primary competition are:

Incumbents retiring

A total of 15 incumbents are not running for re-election in 2014. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Thomas Huntley Electiondot.png Democratic House District 7A
Kathy Brynaert Electiondot.png Democratic House District 19B
Kelby Woodard Ends.png Republican House District 20A
Mike Benson Ends.png Republican House District 26B
David Fitzsimmons Ends.png Republican House District 30B
Kurt Zellers Ends.png Republican House District 34B
Jim Abeler Ends.png Republican House District 35A
John Benson Electiondot.png Democratic House District 44B
Steve Simon Electiondot.png Democratic House District 46B
Ernie Leidiger Ends.png Republican House District 47A
Andrea Kieffer Ends.png Republican House District 53B
Michael Beard Ends.png Republican House District 55A
Pam Myhra Ends.png Republican House District 56A
Mary Liz Holberg Ends.png Republican House District 58A
Michael Paymar Electiondot.png Democratic House District 64B

See also

External links

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