Minnesota Governor’s Race Gives GOP Reasons For Optimism

After a near win for Republicans in the 2016 Presidential contest, a trending red status, and the state’s history of often switching gubernatorial parties after two terms, Republicans have reason for optimism.

As the Weekly Standard reports, Minnesota is no longer a liberal stronghold, and the state’s governorship is ripe for the taking by Republicans, after current Democrat Governor Mark Dayton refused to run for an eligible third term. The Cook Political Report recently rated the race as “Toss-Up” – adding further evidence that the state is a top pick-up opportunity for the GOP in 2018.

The Weekly Standard reports:

“When Donald Trump stopped off in Minnesota the Sunday before the election, it raised eyebrows. No Republican had won the state since Richard Nixon in 1972. But two days later, the outcome was in doubt until late in the night. Hillary Clinton’s 1.5 point margin over Trump was the narrowest victory for her party there since Walter Mondale barely won his home state over Ronald Reagan in 1984.

What had happened to this hyper-blue state? This is a state that was reliably liberal for decades after the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, the DFL, was created in 1944. A succession of DFLers were sent to Washington, reaching a high point with Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, both of whom became vice president and then their party’s nominee for president. But the GOP won a statewide upset in 1978, electing two U.S. senators and the governor. And ever since, control of state offices has passed back and forth between the DFL and the GOP.

Last year brought the latest reversal, with the GOP keeping control of the state house and retaking the state senate. More revealing was the closeness of the presidential race. The much-heralded DFL get-out-the-vote operation almost came up short in delivering the state for Hillary Clinton (who had lost there to Bernie Sanders in the primary/caucus season).

Trump’s strong showing came in the rural and blue-collar exurban areas, which responded to his antiestablishment message, and in the northeastern Range area, usually a DFL stronghold, where the vote was as much anti-Clinton as it was pro-Trump.

So the statewide and congressional elections in 2018 promise to be highly contested.

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On the Republican side, at least one well-known conservative figure is reportedly considering the race. The 2016 results and the state’s history of changing gubernatorial parties after two terms give conservatives reason for optimism.”