ST PAUL, Minnesota — Election night is on Tuesday and while there will be plenty of races to pay attention to, Hamline University political science professor David Schultz took us through a few that should be on Minnesotans' radar.
The U.S. Senate race between Sen. Tina Smith vs. GOP challenger Jason Lewis is being closely watched. Sen. Smith, the incumbent Democrat, is running for a full six-year term after winning a two-year stint in a 2018 special election. Lewis, a former Congressman, won Minnesota's 2nd District in 2016 but was unseated by Democrat Angie Craig in 2018.
RELATED: US Senate Race: Smith vs Lewis
"That's obviously going to be a very important one. Right now, the polls are suggesting Tina Smith with a slight lead. But it's still within a fairly close striking distance and Jason Lewis could win," Schultz said.
Schultz is paying close attention to two Minnesota congressional seats. In Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, it's a rematch between GOP incumbent Jim Hagedorn vs. DFLer Dan Feehan. Rep. Hagedorn is seeking a second term after narrowly beating Feehan in 2018. Meanwhile, in District 7, former lieutenant governor and state senator Michelle Fischbach is looking to unseat longtime DFL incumbent Collin Peterson.
"The 7th District is very important. Collin Peterson is the chair of the House Ag. Committee, one of the most senior members of Congress and he's being challenged by Michelle Fischbach. He is in a district that went more for Donald Trump four years ago than any other district. So potentially, he's vulnerable," Schultz said.
At the state level, all 201 legislative seats are up for election. Senate Republicans are looking to hold on to their majority, currently at 35-32.
"Down in the Lakeville area, Matt Little is being targeted by Republicans... number one seat they want to go after," Schultz said. "We also see that the Democrats are targeting an open seat in Plymouth where Paul Anderson is stepping down."
Schultz said voters should also pay attention to the races of longstanding Republicans Sen. Warren Limmer of Maple Grove and Sen. Karin Housely of St. Mary's Point.
"If both of them were to lose, for example, this would enhance the chances for the Democrats picking up the Senate and having a good night. On the other hand, if the Democrats were to lose a couple of their seats out in Greater Minnesota in the Senate, that would portend that perhaps the Democrats can't flip. So look at Dan Sparks' seat, for example, as one possibility," Schultz said.
Schultz said it's unlikely Democrats will lose control of the Minnesota House. If Democrats flip the Senate, it would mean Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Tim Walz would be in charge of redistricting.
"More importantly, they would be in a position if Minnesota were to lose a congressional seat of being able to probably target a Republican seat or draw the lines to favor them versus if Republicans were to hold the Minnesota Senate, this would make it a much more interesting battle for redistricting and it would probably be going to the Minnesota Supreme Court to resolve," Schultz said.
On the national level, Schultz said for an idea of who may control the Senate, pay attention to races in North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado and Maine.