Abeler-Rehrauer contest northwest of Twin Cities among 10 legislative races to watch in suburbs


Do you want the political world to beat a path to get to your door? You can be unpredictable like the suburbs surrounding most American cities.

Urban voters tend to be reliably Democratic, while rural voters are becoming more Republican. Although first-ring suburbs tend to be Democratic, there are still votes and legislative seats that can be won by both parties in suburban areas further from the urban core. These voters are more inclined to respond to changes than party labels.

State Sen. Jim Abeler

Two years ago, former DFL Senator Matt Little, who was trying to hold his Lakeville-based seat but failing, tweeted: “Everyone laughs at the suburbs until they win a majority.” He seemed to be saying, Win the suburbs, Win the Legislature.

Three of the five most-watched state Senate elections and seven of 15 most-watched House race races will be held in 2022. This includes GOP Sen. Jim Abeler’s 35th District which covers areas of Anoka, Coon Rapids north of Minneapolis.

Due to their changing population, the suburban districts were particularly vulnerable to new redistricting lines. Republicans hope they will not listen to Democrats’ messages about inflation and rising crime rates. Democrats count on suburban voters, especially women, thinking about Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June U.S Supreme Court decision and putting abortion first when they vote.

Abeler and DFL candidate Kari Rehrauer may be thinking about their own race, but they also know they are incarnating those demographics as well as political strategies. Senate District 35, which Republican Abeler held in three elections, has been made a dangerous district by court-ordered redistricting. National issues like inflation, crime, and abortion dominate.

Kari Rehrauer

The two other suburban battlegrounds are affected by the same redistricting math. The 36th District has a different map that puts Sen. Roger Chamberlain at risk. Heather Gustafson (DFLer) is challenging Lino Lakes Republican. Gustafson lives in Vadnais Height. In the eastern suburbs, a contest for a seat pits DFLer Judy Seeberger from Afton against Republican Tom Dippel from Cottage Grove.

All attract significant spending from outside organizations.

Rehrauer stated that the spending in this race is an indication of how important this election was. “A close race attracts a lot attention but I personally will continue to knock on doors and have direct conversations with people span>

House and Senate control now up for grabs

In 2014 and 2016, Republicans took control of the Minnesota state House of Representatives by winning races in the Greater Minnesota and the suburbs. House DFLers targeted the Hillary 12, which were seats that Donald Trump won in 2016, but that were held by GOP legislators.

They won all 12.

Republican Paul Anderson won a seat in Plymouth by 195 votes to deliver the Senate majority to his party. Anderson won the majority despite Little’s surprising defeat in Lakeville. Anderson did not run for 2020 and the DFL claimed the seat.

The state’s suburbs make up a growing portion of the electorate and are showing signs of shifting towards the DFL. Allison Liuzzi is the Minnesota Compass project director, which serves as the data center for Wilder Foundation. She divides the state into three geographical groups: Minneapolis and St. Paul and the suburbs of seven counties in the Twin Cities metro area, and Greater Minnesota.

She said that the suburbs are our largest voting bloc. These suburban areas accounted for 44 percent of the voters in the 2020 election. This is about 20,000 more votes than Greater Minnesota. The final 12 percent were from the two cities. However, in 2014, 46% to 33% more voters were from Greater Minnesota than from the suburbs.

Part of the votes for Governor by Region, 2006-2018
Notice: Greater Minnesota encompasses all counties excluding the seven-county metropolitan area. Twin Cities suburbs include the seven-county metropolitan area minus Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Source: Minnesota Secretary Of State

The state has a high overall voter turnout, and suburban voters are at the top of that list. In 2020, suburban precincts saw 84 percent of the voters cast ballots. This compares to 73 percent in the two cities as well as 76 percent in Greater Minnesota.

span style=”font weight: 400 There’s a lot there and that’s a shift during the last two election,” she stated.

They are also increasingly voting for Democratic candidates, although not in large numbers. In 2016, 49 percent of suburban voters voted for Hillary Clinton, while 77 percent of Minneapolis voters voted for the Democratic nominee. 35 percent of Greater Minnesota voters also voted for Clinton.

Liuzzi stated that in 2020, 56 percent suburban voters supported Joe Biden. The Democratic share of the vote rose in all three regions that year, but the increases were 8 points in suburbs, 6 in cities, and 4 in Greater Minnesota.

Between 2014 and 2018, the suburban vote swung 12 percent in favor of Democratic candidates in two U.S. Senate election.

Liuzzi stated that the first ring of suburbs surrounding the urban core is becoming DFL areas. This was a phenomenon she called a “pushing out phenomenon” from the city to the suburbs. The increase in DFL support could also be reflected in the suburban growth of people of colour.

span style=”font weight: 400 Statewide, all of the growth in our population is coming from people who are of color,” Liuzzi stated. “Births and young families, or in migrations. We would be losing population” Liuzzi said.

Changes in suburbia’s demographics

The new 35th Senate District’s voting precincts voted for Donald Trump by 5.7 points in 2016, but Joe Biden was favored by 4.2 points four years later. The results of the statewide races in 2016 and 2020 show a narrow Democratic advantage, with a composite of them showing a 4.2 percentage point difference.

The new maps have had a significant impact on the district’s demographics, according to Liuzzi and his Minnesota Compass staff. The district that had a 10.4 percent representation of people of colour in 2012 has now been represented by 25.1 percent of people of color. There’s also a similar increase in the number of people who are old enough to vote.

Abeler is a familiar face at the State Capitol. Abeler, a chiropractor and a business owner in Anoka was elected to the House from 1998 to 2016. He has held the Senate seat since then. In 2014, he was unsuccessful in his bid to be the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate. Abeler was the chair of the Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee. He has advocated for long-term care funding and services and was critical of state closing adult day care centers and the response of nursing homes to deaths and infections in the first months of the pandemic.

Minnesota Compass
The pink and striped areas are Senate District 35 from 2012. The redrawn Senate district 35 is shown in the yellow and striped areas.

He is the only Republican to be endorsed by the Minnesota Nurses Association. His support also comes from the majority of the building trade unions that back candidates for both parties. His campaign materials emphasize his willingness to work alongside lawmakers from both sides.

Rehrauer, a school teacher, is currently working as a field worker for Education Minnesota. He is also a member of the state’s teachers union. Rehrauer, a native Wisconsinian, moved to Minnesota in order to attend the University of Minnesota. She stayed. She is a 20-year resident of Coon Rapids and is currently serving her first term on the Coon Rapids City Council.

Both candidates stated that they were asked the same set of questions by voters when doorknocking. These included inflation, public safety, and abortion. Abeler is referred to as extreme by third-party mail. They cite his support of a 2014 bill which would have prohibited abortion at the point that sponsors believed a fetus could feel pain. This is approximately 20 weeks of gestation. If the mother’s life is in danger, the bill provided an exemption. Abeler stated that a pregnancy that was the result of rape or incest would already have been terminated if the mother had made that decision.

Abeler stated that he believes most Minnesotans would support 20 weeks. Abeler stated, “My record was clear.” I respect the woman, and I also respect her life. We need to find a better way to communicate than what we have had .”

Rehrauer stated that she supports abortion access, and said that the decision should be made jointly by women and their healthcare providers.

Rehrauer stated that there is no doubt that women’s rights to privacy and reproductive freedom are under threat in the election. He noted that Abeler received a score of 0% from Planned Parenthood, and an “F” grade from Pro Choice Minnesota.

Abeler stated that people fear that urban crime will spread from their suburbs when public safety is raised at their front doors. Many people have said they no longer visit Minneapolis, he stated.

Rehrauer claims she told voters that Coon Rapids is successful in keeping crime rates down and how she voted for two more officers to the city’s staff.

Abeler would like to see more of his long-term care specialty. One of many uses proposed for the state surplus was to increase funding for care centers in order to attract and pay more staff. This proposal was thwarted by a compromise budget deal that collapsed at the May adjournment of the regular session.

He said that span style=”font weight: 400 ;”>” There’s no politics there, unfortunately.” It was inevitable because so many people are falling apart. It’s complicated enough unless you think of your mom, or someone with Down’s Syndrome. It’s too bad because it’s an important policy.

Rehrauer, for her part, said that the only issue that comes up is election security and Jan. 6 violence at U.S. Capitol.

She said that such issues are very rare. “I think that people in our community are trying to filter out the negative noise. It’s similar to my efforts to drown out negative noise. They think about their children, their families, and how they will pay their bills. This is what they think about every day .”

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