The Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) swept all the statewide offices in the Northstar State. Gov.-elect Tim Walz becomes the first Democrat in state history to follow two four-year terms of another Democrat in the Governor’s Office. The congressman from greater Minnesota campaigned on bringing the state together and promised the entire state “I’ll earn your trust.” Lt. Gov-elect Peggy Flanagan also made history as the first Native American elected statewide, saying growing up she didn’t get to see people who look like her in elective office.

Despite accusations of domestic abuse, Democrat Keith Ellison is another member of congress moving to a statewide post. He also becomes the first person of color and Muslim to win a constitutional office in Minnesota. The congressman from Minneapolis who prevailed over a Republican who had worked against LGBTQ rights said, “Every single day I will wake up and protect the rights of all of us.”

Democrats also took control of the Minnesota House by picking up 18 seats, most of them in the suburbs. Current DFL Minority Leader presumed to be the next speaker of the House, Melissa Hortman, told us in an interview early in the morning at DFL Headquarters, “The thing about the suburbs that was in play this year is suburban dwellers believe in climate change, transit, funding our schools and the politics of decency.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was re-elected with a strong vote and as her national profile continues to grow, fueling speculation about a possible presidential run. She told the crowd, “We don’t need leaders who seek power, we need leaders who seek responsibility.” The daughter of a newspaperman also delighted that the state will have women in both Senate seats with Sen. Tina Smith winning re-election after being appointed by her former running mate Gov. Mark Dayton to the seat Sen. Al Franken resigned after allegations of sexual harassment.

Women make up half of the elected officials the state is sending to Washington D.C. Minnesota also made history by sending the first refugee and Somali-American to congress by electing Ilhan Omar.  The former state lawmaker celebrated “an America that not just welcomes refugees but sends us to Washington!”

After much being made about a rural/urban divide, the state appears to have a rural/suburban divide. Democrats lost the 8th Congressional District in northern Minnesota as Republican Pete Stauber beat a former state lawmaker. Stauber is a former hockey star and cop who was on the county board. Declaring victory he said “Minnesotans across our part of the state made their voices clear. They want to unleash the economic engine in the 8th Congressional District and do all we can to ensure the American dream is available for everyone.” In the 1st Congressional District in southern Minnesota the race was very close, Republican Jim Hagedorn narrowly defeated Democrat Dan Feehan, just outside the margin for an automatic recount. Democrats picked up two suburban congressional seats with Angie Craig and Dean Phillips’s victories.

    Mary Lahammer
    Anchor, Reporter, Producer covering politics, government, history, food for Twin Cities PBS since 1998.