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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 

Realignment

It is obvious that in the past four years there have been huge DFL gains across the state. After 2002, the House had an 81-52 Republican majority, while the Senate had a 35-32 DFL majority. Of course, the House is now 85-49 for the DFL and the Senate is 44-23. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the most important is the realignment of some formerly reliable GOP areas to DFL control. Two of these areas are the western metro area and Southeastern Minnesota.

West Metro

After the 2002 election (the first cycle after redistricting), the West Metro area (which I’m defining as SDs 41-45) had 8 Republican House members and 2 DFL House members, as well as 3 GOP Senators and 2 DFL Senators. That’s a total delegation of 11 GOP and 4 DFL. In that year, the average GOP margin of victory was 22.26%, while the average DFL margin was 18.01%. This was not an area that looked great for the DFL; much of the area is fairly comfortable and fiscally conservative. The 2002 numbers:


Winner Party %age Loser Party %age Margin
41A Ron Erhardt GOP 64.56% Deb James DFL 35.29% 29.27%
41B Alice Seagren GOP 63.65% Kurt Laughinghouse DFL 36.24% 27.41%
41 Geoff Michel GOP 56.02% Marilyn McKnight DFL 33.31% 22.71%
42A Peter Adolphson GOP 52.36% Dave Larson DFL 34.12% 18.24%
42B Erik Paulson GOP 71.95% Ray Daniels DFL 27.96% 43.99%
42 David Hann GOP 49.19% Larry Piumbroeck DFL 20.64% 28.55%
43A Jeff Johnson GOP 61.74% Sheryl Frieman DFL 38.21% 23.53%
43B Ron Abrams GOP 60.26% Wes Lindstrom DFL 39.62% 20.64%
43 David Gaither GOP 54.18% Harold Lerner DFL 34.36% 19.82%
44A Jim Rhodes GOP 48.72% Betty Folliard DFL 46.88% 1.84%
44B Ron Latz DFL 54.85% Lisa Peilen GOP 41.18% 13.67%
44 Steve Kelley DFL 59.06% Daniel Freeman GOP 35.16% 23.90%
45A Lynne Osterman GOP 54.38% Mark Thompson DFL 45.49% 8.89%
45B Lyndon Carlson DFL 57.53% Mike Barnett GOP 42.37% 15.16%
45 Ann Rest DFL 59.61% Rebekah Adams GOP 40.29% 19.32%

As you may know, this is an area that today looks very different. After 2006, there are 4 GOP House members and 6 DFLers. That's DFL +4 House seats. There are now 2 GOP Senators and 3 DFLers. That's DFL +1 Senate seat. That means the delegation is now 6 GOP and 9 DFL, +5 DFL seats. In a closely divided Legislature, that's a big change. Here are the 2006 numbers:


Winner Party %age Loser Party %age Margin
41A Ron Erhardt GOP 59.51% Jeff Rich DFL 40.37% 19.14%
41B Neil Peterson GOP 53.34% Paul Rosenthal DFL 46.53% 6.81%
41 Geoff Michel GOP 56.10% Andrew Borene DFL 29.44% 26.66%
42A Maria Ruud DFL 55.01% Bill Cullen GOP 44.90% 10.11%
42B Erik Paulson GOP 64.04% Rob Boyd DFL 35.87% 28.17%
42 David Hann GOP 51.77% Carol Bomben DFL 48.15% 3.62%
43A Sarah Anderson GOP 52.54% Sandy Hewitt DFL 47.37% 5.17%
43B John Benson DFL 53.92% Dave Johnson GOP 46.01% 7.91%
43 Terri Bonoff DFL 51.93% Judy Johnson GOP 47.96% 3.97%
44A Steve Simon DFL 70.21% Jason Van Buren GOP 29.60% 40.61%
44B Ryan Winkler DFL 69.29% John Palmatier GOP 30.50% 38.79%
44 Ron Latz DFL 68.08% Dave Carlson GOP 31.57% 36.51%
45A Sandra Peterson DFL 57.30% Sarah Durenberger GOP 42.58% 14.72%
45B Lyndon Carlson DFL 64.62% Gregg Prest GOP 35.25% 29.37%
45 Ann Rest DFL 64.27% Derek Brigham GOP 35.59% 28.68%

There were other signs of a major DFL realignment this year; the average GOP margin of victory in 2006 was 14.93% (-7.33% from 2002) and the average DFL margin was 23.41% (+5.40% from 2002). Overall, some very nice trends in this area.

Southeastern Minnesota

After 2002 in SE Minnesota (which I'll define as SDs 27-31), there were 9 Republican House members and one DFL House member. There were 3 GOP Senators (counting Sen. Sheila Kiscaden, who was caucusing with the GOP) and 2 DFL Senators, one of whom, Sen. Dan Sparks, had won by less than a dozen votes. The average GOP margin of victory was 19.07%, the average DFL margin 11.70%. This part of the state was traditionally one of the most reliably Republican before 2004. Here are the numbers:


Winner Party %age Loser Party %age Margin
27A Dan Dorman GOP 57.37% Allan Halvorsen DFL 42.57% 14.80%
27B Jeff Anderson GOP 51.20% Jeanne Poppe DFL 48.72% 2.48%
27 Dan Sparks DFL 45.54% Grace Schwab GOP 45.52% 0.02%
28A Jerry Dempsey GOP 56.96% Sandy Wollschlager DFL 42.97% 13.99%
28B Steve Sviggum GOP 66.11% Scott Metcalf DFL 33.81% 32.30%
28 Steve Murphy DFL 52.42% Gary Iocco GOP 47.48% 4.94%
29A Randy Demmer GOP 53.14% Rodney Peterson DFL 35.14% 18.00%
29B Fran Bradley GOP 67.64% Paul Munnis DFL 32.18% 35.46%
29 Dave Senjem GOP 57.04% Mike Tupper DFL 29.02% 28.02%
30A Carla Nelson GOP 39.77% Tina Liebling DFL 33.15% 6.62%
30B Bill Kuisle GOP 70.81% Eric Starnes DFL 29.04% 41.77%
30 Sheila Kiscaden I/GOP 41.56% Rich Wright DFL 19.32% 22.24%
31A Gene Pelowski DFL 64.97% Justin Costello GOP 34.82% 30.15%
31B Greg Davids GOP 53.45% Al Hein DFL 46.43% 7.02%
31 Bob Kierlin GOP 53.02% Sharon Ropes DFL 46.91% 6.11%

After this year's elections, there will be 8 DFL and 2 GOP House members - that's +7 DFL. There will also be 4 DFL Senators and 1 GOP Senator from those SDs, +2 DFL. In the House, four of the DFL pickups came from beating incumbents (27B, 30A, 30B, and 31B) while the other three (27A, 28A, and 29B) came in open seats. Both of the Senate pickups (30 and 31) came in open seats. Here are those numbers:


Winner Party %age Loser Party %age Margin
27A Robin Brown DFL 50.78% Matt Benda GOP 49.10% 1.68%
27B Jeanne Poppe DFL 56.33% Jeff Anderson GOP 43.53% 12.80%
27 Dan Sparks DFL 67.72% George Marin GOP 32.18% 35.54%
28A Sandy Wollschlager DFL 51.36% Gary Iocco GOP 48.33% 3.03%
28B Steve Sviggum GOP 60.82% Jeffrey Flaten DFL 39.05% 21.77%
28 Steve Murphy DFL 54.26% Steve Drazkowski GOP 45.33% 8.93%
29A Randy Demmer GOP 57.85% Wes Urevig DFL 42.05% 15.80%
29B Kim Norton DFL 50.23% Rich Decker GOP 49.59% 0.64%
29 Dave Senjem GOP 55.43% Rob Broberg DFL 33.35% 22.08%
30A Tina Liebling DFL 52.76% Carla Nelson GOP 47.04% 5.72%
30B Andy Welti DFL 51.85% Bill Kuisle GOP 48.05% 3.80%
30 Ann Lynch DFL 52.47% Scott Wright GOP 47.41% 5.06%
31A Gene Pelowski DFL 69.82% Lewie Reiman GOP 29.92% 39.90%
31B Ken Tschumper DFL 50.01% Greg Davids GOP 49.70% 0.31%
31 Sharon Ropes DFL 46.74% Brenda Johnson GOP 35.38% 11.36%

The average GOP margin was 19.88% (+.82% from 2002) and the average DFL margin was 10.21% (-1.49% from 2002). That negative trend for the DFL margin is mostly due to having only one safe incumbent, Rep. Pelowski in 31A. Incidentally, both new Senators and 5 of the 7 DFL House members elected in 2004 or 2006 are women.

Is this a temporary phenomenon or a permanent realignment?

Wow! MDE (12/4) is recyclinga two week old article from Skyway News/Southwest Journal asking "Is the DFL the party of Minneapolis?".

The GOP definitely isn't comfortable with fact-based analysis such as yours out in plain view.

Thank you for the analysis. Brilliant. I'll link to it.

The Big E
http://www.mnblue.com

District 31 was a three way race. Your numbers are not complete and thus not accurate.

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