Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Minnesota elections in 2014
Margin of victory
|Other 2014 Election coverage|
State legislatures • U.S. House • U.S. Senate
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. 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.
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.
|Minnesota House of Representatives|
|Party||As of November 3, 2014||After November 4, 2014|
|Other 2014 Election coverage|
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. Races held this year in competitive districts include:
- District 2B: Incumbent Steve Green (R) faces David Sobieski (D) in the general election. Green won by a margin of 2 percent in 2012.
- District 8B: Incumbent Mary Franson (R) faces Jay Sieling (D) in the general election. Franson won by a margin of 0.05 percent in 2012.
- District 10B: Incumbent Joe Radinovich (D) faces Dale Lueck (R) in the general election. Radinovich won by a margin of 1 percent in 2012.
- District 48A: Incumbent Yvonne Selcer (D) faces Kirk Stensrud (R) in the general election. Selcer won by a margin of 0.82 percent in 2012.
- District 56B: Incumbent Will Morgan (D) faces Roz Peterson (R) in the general election. Morgan won by a margin of 0.80 percent in 2012.
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:
- 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|
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|
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.
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:
- District 5A: Incumbent John Persell is challenged by Lavern Pederson in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Phillip Nelson (R) in the general election.
- District 6A: Incumbent Carly Melin is challenged by John Finken in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Roger Weber (R) in the general election.
- District 40B: Incumbent Debra Hilstrom is challenged by Timothy Davis, Sr. in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Mali Marvin (R) in the general election.
- District 60B: Incumbent Phyllis Kahn, one of the two longest-tenured state representatives, is challenged by Mohamud Noor in the Democratic primary. The winner will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election.
- District 63B: Incumbent Jean Wagenius is challenged by Roger Kittelson in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Andres Hortillosa (R) in the general election.
A total of 15 incumbents are not running for re-election in 2014. Those retiring incumbents are:
|Thomas Huntley||Democratic||House District 7A|
|Kathy Brynaert||Democratic||House District 19B|
|Kelby Woodard||Republican||House District 20A|
|Mike Benson||Republican||House District 26B|
|David Fitzsimmons||Republican||House District 30B|
|Kurt Zellers||Republican||House District 34B|
|Jim Abeler||Republican||House District 35A|
|John Benson||Democratic||House District 44B|
|Steve Simon||Democratic||House District 46B|
|Ernie Leidiger||Republican||House District 47A|
|Andrea Kieffer||Republican||House District 53B|
|Michael Beard||Republican||House District 55A|
|Pam Myhra||Republican||House District 56A|
|Mary Liz Holberg||Republican||House District 58A|
|Michael Paymar||Democratic||House District 64B|