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Larkin Hoffman's Government Team Wraps-Up the 2022 Midterm Elections


Midterm elections are infamously bad for the party that controls the White House, and with Democratic President Joe Biden’s approval rate hovering in the low 40s, most pundits expected some form of “Red Wave” across the country.  While votes continue to be counted nationwide and the majorities in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are yet to be confirmed, one thing is clear, whatever momentum national Republicans had in other states, it failed to reach Minnesota. 

With strong support from suburban communities, Minnesota Democrats won all four statewide constitutional offices and appear set to control both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s office for the first time since the 2013-14 biennium. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz won a second term against Republican challenger, the former state senator, Dr. Scott Jensen, 52.3% to 44.6%.  Incumbent Democrats Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and State Auditor Julie Blaha all won re-election as well.  In the surprise of the night, the Senate Democrats look set to take the majority for the first time in six years.  Picking up the three seats necessary to take a 34-33 majority, the most notable result for the Senate Democrats was political newcomer Heather Gustafson’s victory over Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), the chair of the Senate E-12 Education Committee.  Meanwhile, the House Democrats appear likely to maintain its current 70-64 majority, but with dozens of retirements, departures, and more than a handful of defeated incumbents, the numerical majority is likely the only thing that will look familiar when the legislature reconvenes in January, with dozens of first-term legislators elected on both sides of the aisle.  What's Next?

While ballots continue to be counted across the country, Minnesota legislators will begin organizing themselves for the coming legislative session.  That includes caucus meetings, likely later this week, where each of the four caucuses will elect leaders.  New faces are expected in both the House and Senate DFL caucuses as current House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) and Senate Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen (DFL-Edina) will no longer be in office.  New leadership in the House and Senate Republican Caucuses is also possible as legislators look towards the future. 

This election summary details the most recent results from yesterday's key races. Please reach out to any of the Larkin Hoffman Government Relations team members with any questions. 

Federal Update

Last night’s midterm election fell short of the tsunami that the party and election handicappers projected. Although the final makeup of the House may not be known for days or weeks, we do know House Republicans will pick up a seat or two in Arizona, three in Florida, one in Georgia, three in New York, one in Oregon, two in Texas, and a smattering of other states en route to a victory in the mid-220s. Again, this falls far short of the historic norm for a president’s first midterm election. Democrats, for their part, won seats in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. They were leading in some races in Arizona, California, and the aforementioned Colorado that would be pickups and cut into any GOP majority. Senate control hinges on Georgia and Nevada and remains too close to call. Arizona hasn’t been called either, although incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is currently leading Republican Blake Masters. And Democrats picked up one seat as Democrat John Fetterman defeated Republican Mehmet Oz in an enormously expensive race that went down to the wire.

While the balance of power in Washington, D.C. is yet to be determined, in Minnesota, Congresswoman Angie Craig (MN-2) defeated repeat challenger Tyler Kistner 50.8% to 45.72% in a district covering a large swath of the Twin Cities’ southern suburbs.  Craig’s seat was deemed likely to be the most competitive of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts and was targeted as a key pickup for Republicans nationally.  In southern Minnesota, newly sworn-in Congressman Brad Finstad (MN-1) emerged victorious over Jeff Ettinger for the second time in four months as he wins his first full term in Congress, replacing the late Congressman Jim Hagedorn.  Finstad narrowly won a special election on Primary Day in early August.