Deep Purple State: Minnesota Divided

By Paul Cassidy

After a very long night of counting votes—and finding them—it appears the State of Minnesota will continue to be the only state in the country with the only state capitol with a divided government.

After many twists and turns over the course of the last 12 hours, our best analysis tells us that the Minnesota House of Representatives will remain in the control of the Minnesota Democratic Farm Labor (DFL) party and the Minnesota Senate will remain under the control of the Minnesota Republican Party (GOP).  With many variables still in play—including recounts, court challenges and late-arriving mail-in ballots—here is our best analysis of how the Minnesota legislature breaks down:

Minnesota House of Representatives: DFL remains in control by a 69-65 margin

Minnesota Senate: Republicans maintain their 35-32 margin


As the polls closed on election night, many of the battleground states including, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, remained uncalled—with close margins. With President Trump expected from the start to perform strongly among Election Day voters, time will tell if early leads in battleground states hold as mail-in ballot results trickle in over the next few days. 

As the night closed, the electoral college total stood at 238 Biden, 213 Trump. This total includes Minnesota's 10 electoral votes going to Biden at a 52.6 to 45.3 margin. With Biden cinching Arizona, and Trump gaining coveted Florida, the presidency is still very much in limbo.

Minnesota Races

US Senate

Senator Tina Smith (D) defended her seat in a tight race with former Congressman Jason Lewis (R). As of early Wednesday, the Senate was tied 46-46.

US House of Representatives

In the U.S. Congress, Democrats are projected to keep control of the House of Representatives. Minnesota's Congressional delegation fared as follows: 

In Congressional District 7, 15-term incumbent Collin Peterson (D)'s long tenure was ended by former Minnesota Senator Michelle Fischbach (R). In the 1st Congressional District, first-term Congressman Jim Hagedorn (R) defended his seat against Dan Feehan (D) for the second election cycle in a row. In Congressional District 2, Congresswoman Angie Craig held her seat against challenger Tyler Kistner, in Congressional District 3 and Congressman Dean Phillips defended his seat from challenger Kendall Qualls. In Congressional District 4, Congresswoman Betty McCollum easily won another term, while Congresswoman Ilhan Omar defeated challenger Lacy Johnson in the 5th Congressional district. In Congressional District 6 Congressman Tom Emmer handily defended his seat, and in Congressional District 8, freshman incumbent Pete Stauber defeated opponent Quinn Nystrom.

Minnesota Senate

Under Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, the Senate GOP caucus defended their 35-32 majority, picking up a suburban seat held by DFL'er Matt Little, and flipping Dan Spark's seat in Austin. While vote tabulation has been somewhat tumultuous with record numbers of early votes, it appears that incumbent DFL Senator Dan Sparks is unlikely to win, but until the all the votes are counted, we can't be positive. The DFL picked up two seats as well, including GOP Sen. Dan Hall, and the one held by retiring Paul Anderson in Plymouth.  

Minnesota House of Representatives

Speaker Melissa Hortman led her DFL caucus into another two years in the majority, though at a much tighter balance between parties. The House GOP managed to win back quite a few of the suburban seats lost in the DFL sweep of 2018, as well as pick up two new seats in outstate Minnesota by Rep. Julie Sandstede in Hibbing, and Jeff Brand in St. Peter. With votes left to be counted and two mandatory recounts in the works, the exact breakdown between parties isn’t solidified yet, but it will likely leave the DFL with a 5-6 seat majority.


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