Power-Building Strategy: Flip the State Senate blue.
Minnesota, like Michigan that we profiled yesterday, was another top Democratic legislative target where we fell short in 2020. Democrats came heartbreakingly close, losing the majority by less than 1,000 votes.
But after the election, Democrats were dealt another blow when two Democratic State Senators, representing the ancestrally Democratic Iron Range, switched their affiliations to Independent. The story of Minnesota is very similar to that of Michigan that we highlighted in our last post — gains among college-educated voters have boosted Democratic prospects (like the 18-seat gain in 2018 that led to Democrats flipping the State House), but those gains alone have not been enough to win a legislative majority.
Minnesota has a strong Democratic tradition (it was the only state — outside of the District of Columbia — to not vote for Ronald Reagan in his 1984 electoral college landslide). At the state legislative level, it has had much more Democratic representation than most battleground states.
Democrats actually flipped the governorship blue in the 2010 red wave and held onto both chambers that year. Democrats lost the State House in 2014 and the State Senate in 2016, when Hillary Clinton only narrowly carried the state.
Looking to 2022, Democrats will need to pay special attention to the gubernatorial race in what is expected to be a tough year for Democrats. Likewise, while Democrats did hold onto their State House majority in 2020, they saw a net loss in seats. Democrats will also need to pay special attention to holding that chamber.
The State Senate will be on the ballot again in 2022 since Minnesota Senators follow the 2–4–4 term system. To flip the Senate, Democrats face a similar challenge to Michigan in figuring out how to win more conservative college-educated voters and build back among ancestrally Democratic non-college white voters.
Minnesota has not previously been an EveryDistrict target state, but it is an example of how the unique insights that we will gain from our work in Virginia this year about how legislative campaigns can better message and engage persuadable voters can have broad applicability in a wide variety of states. Heading into 2022, we plan to bring insights about the voters who will be key to unlocking more legislative majorities to states like Minnesota to ensure that we hold our House majority and win back a Senate majority.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Minnesota:
- Democrats need to invest in continued messaging, polling, and organizing targeted in districts where we have seen continued growth and where we need to build back. Beginning in Virginia in 2021 and expanding to other battleground states in 2022, EveryDistrict’s Win Number program will do exactly that by deploying the latest in election science to identify how we can win more conservative college-educated voters, rebuild with non-college white voters, and develop a message that resonates with rural voters.