ST. PAUL, Minn. -- While presidential candidates debate in front of millions, and congressional candidates slam each other with expensive television ads, hundreds of Minnesota State legislature hopefuls "door-knock" their districts hoping to win an election.
Control of both the House and Senate hangs in the balance.
"It's very hard for the legislative races to get much attention. The battle for control of the Minnesota legislature will probably have more impact on the everyday lives of Minnesotans and it's gotten almost no coverage," U of M Political Analyst and Professor Larry Jacobs explained.
The legislature will once again take up the daunting task of producing a budget and trying to come up with some sort of an agreement on taxes and spending.
While DFL Governor Mark Dayton has 2 more years in the corner office, the narrow Republican control of the state house and senate is at stake. "We're looking very positive, I think, in our ability to maintain control," current Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem of Rochester told KARE 11.
Senjem says there are some tight races and that members of the party are out pounding the pavement to earn votes for Election Day. He says the balance of power in St. Paul is healthy. "I think there are a lot of good reasons why we ought to have a divided government from the standpoint of having a great debate and making great decisions."
Governor Dayton told reporters he's been fanning across the state during the evenings and weekends trying to help the DFL grab the presumed 4 Senate seats and 6 House spots needed to take full party control of the capitol. "People ask me what will happen if we have a DFL Governor and DFL Legislature? I say progress. We'll replace gridlock with progress," he said.
"If he (Gov Dayton) gets majorities in one chamber but not both, he's probably back in the soup fighting it out with Republicans," Jacobs said.
Regardless, the state capitol will look much different come January; an estimated 25% of the legislature's seats will have new faces due in part to retirements, primary defeats, and redistricting.
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