All 201 seats in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives are on the ballot this fall. Regardless of the outcome of the races, significant legislative turnover will result.

Twenty-four current members (see list below) have already announced they will not seek reelection. On top of that, voter sentiment is not favoring incumbency. A recent MPR News/Humphrey Institute Poll shows that only 37% of respondents approved of the way the Minnesota Legislature handled its job at the end of the session. Furthermore, in the “Obama surge” of 2008, Democrats won several legislative seats in districts that typically vote Republican. With the political tides shifting the other way, the GOP expects to regain control of those districts—particularly in the suburbs and exurbs—that have a high Republican index. These factors are expected to result in reduced, but not lost, DFL majorities in each body. Currently, Democrats hold a veto-proof 47-seat majority in the Senate and 87 seats in the House.

Beyond a change in overall composition, legislative leadership will also look different in 2011. Four of the Senate retirees are venerable committee chairs: Mee Moua of Senate Judiciary; Steve Murphy of Senate Transportation; Yvonne Prettner Solon of Senate Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications; and Jim Vickerman of Senate Agriculture and Veterans. On the House side, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s jump into the governor’s race creates a leadership vacuum that has several DFL incumbents rumored to be vying for the positions of Speaker of the House and Majority Leader.

As the candidate filing period closes on June 1 and races for seats (and leadership) begin to shape up, the Leonard, Street and Deinard Government Relations Team will keep you posted on the latest insights from the campaign trail.

Senate Retirements:

  • Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud (running against U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in the 6th CD)
  • Steve Dille, R-Dassel
  • Dennis Frederickson, R-New Ulm
  • Debbie Johnson, R-Ham Lake
  • Mee Moua, DFL-St. Paul
  • Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing
  • Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington
  • Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth (running for Lt. Governor with Mark Dayton)
  • Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy

House Retirements:

  • Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove
  • Laura Brod, R-New Prague
  • Randy Demmer, R-Hayfield (running against U.S. Congressman Tim Walz in the 1st CD)
  • Rob Eastlund, R-Isanti
  • Tom Emmer, R-Delano (running for Governor)
  • Larry Haws, DFL-St. Cloud
  • Jeremy Kalin, DFL-North Branch
  • Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis (running for Governor)
  • Paul Kohls, R-Victoria
  • Doug Magnus, R-Slayton (running for Jim Vickerman’s open seat in the Senate)
  • Mary Ellen Otremba, DFL-Long Prairie
  • Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth (running for Yvonne Prettner Solon’s open seat in the Senate)
  • Marty Seifert, R-Marshall
  • Dan Severson, R-Sauk Rapids (running against Mark Ritchie for Secretary of State)
  • Cy Thao, DFL-St. Paul