FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Laura Nevitt was happy to talk about the crowds at the DFL booth over the 12 days of the Minnesota State Fair. "We had a lot of people coming in, packed almost every day," Nevitt said before informing a fair-goer that they were out of white Obama shirts.
"We have a Romney/Ryan yard sign sign-up," Ryan Lyk told one of several visitors at the Republican building at the fair. The President of the MN College Republicans was happy to report there was a lot of energy in the building. "The feedback has been extremely positive," he remarked.
"Minnesota is a very important part of the big national story about who's going to control congress," U of M Political Analyst Larry Jacobs explained. Congressional incumbents in the North (Rep. Chip Cravaack-R) and South (Rep. Tim Walz-D) face tough tests this fall. Jacobs says this election should prove different than the past 4. "We're not seeing the conditions for what are known as wave elections where one party will sweep across the country," the professor said.
Jacobs says expect some tight contests for seats in the Minnesota House and Senate too. "Those majorities could well be up for grabs. Who controls the legislature will be very important in terms of our tax policy, our spending policies," Jacobs said.
As if there wasn't enough incentive to get Minnesotans to the polls (don't forget about the Presidential race), there's another big factor that goes into that fateful day in November. "The wrinkle could be the constitutional amendments," Jacobs reminded us. Both the marriage amendment and the voter identification question are extremely politically divisive and may influence other elections from the top on down, depending on turnout. "Elections this year could be wide open," Jacobs concluded.
We found bi-partisan agreement on one thing at the Minnesota State Fair; getting people to the polls shouldn't be a problem. "I'm very encouraged having been out here for 12 days," DFL volunteer Nevitt said. "It's going to be crazy, but it's going to be a lot of fun," GOP advocate Lyk added.