Battle for the Minnesota Legislature pits abortion rights against inflation, crime

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The DFL believes that abortion rights are the most important issue in the race to control the Minnesota House and Senate next year. Republicans believe crime and inflation should be the top issues.


Melissa Hortman, DFL House Speaker, stated that she expected the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington to reverse Roe v. Wade’s 1977 decision. “But when it came down, it was hard to describe in words the anger that I felt at losing my constitutional rights as a women in America in 2022 span>


A Brooklyn Park resident claimed that there was a marked change between June’s reception at the voters’ doors and July’s reception. He called it “night-and-day.”

Republicans were sent a message that they would not vote for the ruling in Dobbs. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationspan styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>. They settled on the argument, that the next Legislature or governor cannot change Minnesota’s abortion laws because of a Minnesota Supreme Court case.


span style=”font weight: 400 ;”>” I think the Democrats were hoping that it was going to stay,” stated Sen. Karin Housley of Stillwater, who is the co-chairperson of the Senate GOP campaign committee. But when you don’t have the money to buy your children soccer shoes, it becomes a top priority. The public is more concerned about safety and the quality of their lives .”


It is not surprising that partisans who don’t agree on many things would also differ on the key issues for 2022. It just so happens that the main issues each side is discussing could help them win battleground district on Nov. 8.


It could be close. It could be close. The DFL has won statewide elections in Minnesota. They have not lost a state constitutional office or a U.S. Senate chair since 2002. The party has not fared well in congressional and legislative races. In 2020, Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by seven percentage points. The GOP retained control of the state Senate and was close to replacing DFL in the House major. The result would have been altered if 680 votes were changed in four House races. Republican Kurt Daudt would then be the speaker.

The 2022 race to control the Legislature was predicated by a whirlwind of retirementsspan styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>, incumbents who ran for other offices. Court-drawn redistricting mapping maps changed the composition of districts and put many incumbents together in single races.


The GOP is the favorite this year. The party of a president usually performs poorly in the first midterm elections after their election. Both a generic question on which party voters prefer, and in the job approval numbers for Biden, national polling showed that the GOP was preferred by the nation. Two issues that favor the GOP were the top priorities in spring: public safety, and the economy.

On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Dobbs decision and Democrats across the country began to mobilize around the abortion issue. Look through the direct mail sent by the DFL and its affiliated organizations will reveal how much it is about abortion. The DFL Senate campaign sponsors a series get-out-the vote events called “Rally for Roevember.” Alliance for a Better Minnesota has purchased millions of dollars of TV ads targeting Scott Jensen, the GOP nominee for governor.

A few DFLers oppose abortionspan styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>, It is unlikely that a GOP-endorsed candidate will be for abortion rights. It was not as important when the U.S. Constitution gave a national right.


span style=”font weight: 400 Dobbs really altered the equation of this race,” stated Sen. Erin Murphy (St. Paul DFLer) who chairs the Senate DFL campaign committee. “I have doorknocked every place this cycle, and the same thing keeps occurring. “I would like to know the position of your candidate on women’s rights ?'”


Hortman refutes the argument that Doe v. Gomez’s Minnesota Supreme Court ruling protects Minnesota’s right to abortion. She stated that legislative Republicans have voted on or attempted to force votes for restrictions on abortion over the years. She says that when Republicans tell her it would take a constitutional change or a modification in the composition of the state court for Gomez to be reversed, she responds that Republicans offered two amendments in 2012 to reverse a law allowing same-sex marriage and to require photo identification to vote.


Hortman stated that the GOP is now more conservative than in 2012.


“They have a record.” They have a record .”


That is what Daudt says.


span style=”font weight: 400 ;”>” The truth is that abortion is not an issue because we have a Constitution protection,” said the Crown Republican. “The next Legislature, and the next governor, will not be in a position to restrict anyone’s right to abortion. I will be the speaker of this House, and we won’t do that.


“Democrats want to divide Minnesotans over an issue that the Legislature doesn’t control in order to divert focus from crime and inflation.”

The state Constitution allows simple majorities in the Senate and House to place amendments on the ballot. These amendments can only be passed by a simple majority of voters. The governors have no control over whether or not amendments make it to the ballot. Kansas’s Kansas measure was the first state to try to restrict abortion rights in the constitution. It would have allowed the Legislature the power to make changes. Nearly 60% of voters rejected it.


Prior to Dobbs’s election, Republicans believed that rising crime rates, inflation, and Biden’s low approval ratings would ensure them a successful 2022. Although still below 50% in the polls, Biden’s approval has increased.


Recent polls have shown that abortion rights are not the most important issue. Public safety and economics have taken precedence. Education and parental rights, which were successfully pushed in the 2021 Virginia governor’s race, are less of an issue.


Minnesota’s legislative majorities are being increasingly won and lost in the Twin Cities suburbs. Because they won the suburbs, the Republicans controlled the state House following the 2014 and 2016 elections. In the first midterm after Trump’s election, the DFL followed the same route. It won 18 seats, just below the historic average of 17 seats that have changed hands in every election since 1954. The GOP lost suburban seats to the DFL, which led to its victory. While some of this ground was lost in 2020 the majority of the battleground districts were in suburban areas. Attention is now being paid to how the GOP can take over northern Minnesota, including the Iron Range, which used to be DFL territory.


span style=”font weight: 400 It used to be that suburbs were hopeless,” Hortman stated about DFL success in those areas. That changed when it came to issues like education and access to abortion. Republicans did not even field House candidates for Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, or Hopkins. Republicans are running for Edina. However, under old boundaries, Biden won the Senate district that includes the suburb by 34 percentage points. She said that the GOP they voted for once has changed and pointed out that two-time governor Tim Pawlenty is no longer in office. Tim Pawlenty didn’t even win 2018’s GOP nomination.


span style=”font weight: 400 They see a party which condones what happened Jan. 6. They also see a party trying to get people into positions of power to claim their guy won, even though he didn’t,” Hortman stated. While concerns about the economy and public safety are important, they don’t outweigh suburban concerns about how the GOP has changed.


Daudt stated that GOP polling shows crime and inflation are high on voters’ minds and are a strong issue for his candidates.


He said that Democrats are very liable on these issues. “When there’s huge inflation, the incumbent party — whether they are responsible for it or not — kind of own it.” Daudt believes that spending increases contributes to inflation and enjoys talking up DFL votes in 2019. He also supports gasoline tax hikes proposed in Gov. Tim Walz. They were not passed, but Republicans want people remember them.


The GOP talks about public safety in two areas: crime rates and response to riots after the death of George Floyd, May and June 2020. Legislative DFLers have never proposed moves to defund local law enforcement, which is a local funding responsibility. Daudt claims that many DFL legislators voted to pay for State Patrol costs in response to riots.


span style=”font weight: 400 That defunds them,” Daudt stated about the patrol. “There has been defund-the police movement in the state, and I won’t back down from it. These Democrats are my colleagues every day. They don’t want any money going to the police departments .”


Housley also speaks out about safety concerns among suburban residents.


Parents are worried about their children’s safety when there are carjackings at Woodbury and thefts of catalytic converters in Stillwater. She said that they want more police officers to patrol the streets.


Murphy acknowledges that public safety is “a difficult one for the DFL”, but points out the bills offered to state support for local public safety measures, including funding non-police community intervention programmes.


Murphy stated that everyone deserves to feel safe in their community and is concerned about the safety of their neighbors. “We came to this campaign with a clear view and commitment to Minnesotans to ensure that everyone is safe .”

Iron Range’s increasing strength is mirrored in the GOP’s struggle in the suburbs. This election will see the final DFL House and Senate seats go to the winner. The Iron Range win could see a complete takeover of Greater Minnesota, outside of the regional centers of Duluth or Rochester and larger college towns. A telling statistic is that six DFL senators from Greater Minnesota lost their races in 2016. These same seats were not contested four years later.


Voters will be asked to vote for Congress and other statewide elected offices on every state’s ballot. This allows the top ticket to set the pace for down ballot voting. Are Republicans worried about Walz’s lead in opinion polls, which show him leading by margins of seven to 18 points.


Housley stated that legislative races are won at local levels and Daudt cites statistics that show that his GOP candidates often received more votes than Donald Trump and GOP Governor nominee Jeff Johnson in 2020.


Hortman often sees DFLers winning easily in statewide elections, but then not being able match the results when votes are counted for the 67 Senate districts or 134 House races. Walz’s lead in polls could have another effect: If conservatives and business interests view that as a way to limit Walz and DFL power, more GOP money could flow into legislative races.


DFLers and DFL leaning groups will continue to outspend Republicans. Their fundraising network and network of independent expenditure agencies remains stronger.


A historic fact about the 2022 election favors the GOP is that Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar isn’t on the ballot. The DFL won the House in every instance that the state’s senior senator was on the statewide election ballot. She won the House with majorities that ranged from 58% to 65% in her three election wins. The DFL won large majorities in the state House each time, with a range of 73 to 85 seats. Her current term will not expire until 2024.

It may be close. It could be close. The DFL has won statewide elections in Minnesota but has struggled in congressional and legislative races. In the 2020 election, Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by 7 percentage point. The GOP retained control of the state Senate with one seat and was close to replacing DFL in the House major.

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