Brace yourself. The 2018 election cycle for Minnesota is upon us and the the stakes are enormous. Both major parties are heading to primary elections Aug. 14 as a result of their state conventions this past weekend. There are a series of significant races on the November ballot.

The GOP, which met in Duluth, knew it was heading into a primary, because former Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced in advance he would skip the endorsing convention and head right to a primary.  Jeff Johnson was endorsed on Saturday and with running mate Donna Bergstrom from Duluth will face off against Pawlenty and his running mate Michelle Fischbach, former President of the Senate from Paynesville.  Learn more

State Representative Erin Murphy was selected on the sixth ballot in Rochester by the DFL delegates over State Auditor Rebecca Otto and 1st District Congressman Tim Walz.  On Sunday State Representative Erin Maye Quade was introduced to the DFL convention by Erin Murphy as her choice for running mate.  She was endorsed by acclimation.

On Saturday, outside the convention hall, Tim Walz and his running mate, State Representative Peggy Flanagan announced they were taking the race to the people and were entering the primary.  Rebecca Otto on Saturday told the delegates that she and her lieutenant governor pick Zarina Baber would “take the weekend to think about this.” Learn more

The rule of thumb is that governors get 80 percent of what they ask for from the legislature.  When they don’t, they can prevent nearly anything from passing with the veto stamp, as Gov. Mark Dayton demonstrated.  To say that the Governor’s election this year is consequential is an understatement.

Key Races

House Speaker Kurt Daudt is defending a 77-57 GOP majority. House DFLers are banking on a slate of new candidate recruitment and a potential national ‘blue wave’ for their attempt to retake a majority in the House.

While not on the ballot until the 2020 election, the Senate Republican majority has taken an interesting twist. GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach has taken the oath of office for lieutenant governor and there will be a special election (held on the general election date, Nov. 6) for her seat. The outcome of that special election could flip control of the Senate, which now stands at a 33-33 tie.

While this special election will be expensive and hard fought, SD 13 (Central Minnesota) is traditionally very conservative (63% for Trump in 2016) and state Rep. Jeff Howe (GOP-Cold Spring) is running and is well positioned to hold the seat for the GOP.

In addition to the battles for governor and control of the legislature all eight Congressional seats are on the ballot. We also have both of our U.S. Senate seats on the ballot this November due to the midterm resignation of Al Franken.

All state constitutional officers, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor, are up for election as well.

We’re told the ad-buys for the Twin Cities media market this fall have already been purchased and Minnesotans should brace for an unprecedented amount of political money and ads being dumped on them this fall. Hang on for a bumpy ride to the Nov. 6 general election