Minnesota Democrats defied expectations in a midterm election that had been expected to go well for Republicans, winning the governor’s race and completing a trifecta Wednesday by winning both houses of the Legislature to take full control of state government for the first time in eight years.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller conceded Wednesday morning that his party had lost its majority to Senate Democrats. That followed a concession earlier Wednesday from GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and the re-election of Democratic Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday night.
“Tim Walz is the governor for four more years,” GOP challenger Scott Jensen told supporters in a concession speech. “Republicans, quite frankly, we didn’t have a red wave. It was a blue wave. And we need to stop, we need to recalibrate, we need to ask ourselves: ‘OK, what can we learn from this? What can we do better? How do we go forward?’ “
While several legislative races were yet to be called as of Wednesday morning, Democrats appeared to exceed the 68 seats they need to preserve their majority in the House, while Democrats appeared to have the 34 seats they need to control the Senate.
The only other time that Minnesota saw single-party control in the past 30 years was when Democrats held full power in 2013-14, and the last time any Minnesota Republican won statewide office was in 2006, when Gov. Tim Pawlenty was reelected.
“While it does not look like Senate Republicans will maintain control of the Senate, we will continue to fight for keeping life affordable for working Minnesotans and seniors, safer communities and support for law enforcement, and more opportunities for students to be successful in the classroom and beyond,” Miller said in a statement.
Democrats also appeared poised to keep Minnesota’s three other constitutional offices. Secretary of State Steve Simon defeated Republican election skeptic Kim Crockett, winning more votes than any other Democratic statewide candidate including Walz.
Attorney General Keith Ellison and State Auditor Julie Blaha held narrow leads over GOP challengers Jim Schultz and Ryan Wilson in races that had yet to be called Wednesday morning.