• Schuyler Beltrami

2022 Midterms Preview –Minnesota


St. Paul (Photo: Pixabay)

The Millennial Agora continues our complete preview of the upcoming midterm elections for Congress with the state of Minnesota. A state of just under 6 million people, Minnesota is the 12th largest state in the country by area and covers a large part of the upper Midwest. Around half of the population of the state lives in the Minneapolis-St.Paul metropolitan area (known as the Twin Cities), with most of the rest of state being very rural farmland. The state of Minnesota is politically split among rural and urban voters with the Minneapolis area being deep blue and the rest of the state trending deeply conservative. However, due to the overwhelming population in the Minneapolis Area, Minnesota owns the record for the longest streak of voting for Democratic candidates in presidential elections, as the last Republican to win the state was Richard Nixon in 1972. In 2020, President Biden won the state by a margin of 7%, a vast improvement over Hillary Clinton’s 1.5% victory in 2016. In 2022, there will be elections in Minnesota for the House of Representatives and Governor. Minnesota is allocated eight seats in the House, a number which remained unchanged after redistricting. Currently four seats are occupied by Democrats and four by Republicans.


House of Representatives

Minnesota receives eight seats in the House of Representatives and all seats will be up for election in November. The overall CVPI for the entire state is D+1, making Minnesota’s House races (taken as a whole) to be toss-ups which have a slight lean for the Democrats. (The CPVI, or Cook Partisan Voting Index, is the main metric to measure the strength of a political party for a particular House district or Senate seat. The measure was created and managed by the non-partisan Cook Political Report and uses historical data, as well as polling, to create the “partisan lean” of each district or state. A CPVI rating of R+15 would mean that on average, Republican candidates win elections in that district or state by an average of 15%, while a rating of D+15 would mean the same thing, but for the Democratic candidate. A district or state with a CPVI with double digits is considered to be non-competitive).


I. MN-01:

A. Current Representative: Brad Finstad (R)

B. Population Distribution: Overwhelmingly Rural

C. Demographics: 82% White, 7% Hispanic, 5% African American

D. Cook PVI: R+7 (Leans Republican)

E. Outlook: Minnesota’s first district includes around one-fifth of the entire state and stretches from the borders with South Dakota in the west, along the entire southern border with Iowa, and on to the eastern border with Wisconsin. Incumbent Rep. Finstad has represented the district since winning special election in August 2022 by 4%. Rep. Finstad replaced fellow Republican Jim Hagedorn who died in February of kidney cancer. This election is a rematch of that election with Rep. Finstad once again going up against Democratic nominee Jeff Ettinger. Rep. Finstad was able to defeat his Democratic challenger in the beginning of August, the high-point of Democratic nationwide momentum. This, along with the fact that Rep. Finstad is a Republican incumbent in a red district, means he should be well on his way to winning his first full term in the House.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


II. MN-02:

A. Current Representative: Angie Craig (D)

B. Population Distribution: Mostly Rural, Some Urban and Suburban Areas

C. Demographics: 75% White, 8% African American, 8% Hispanic, 7% Asian

D. Cook PVI: D+1 (Toss-up)

E. Outlook: The Minnesota second district includes the southern part of the Twin Cities with almost half of Saint Paul as well as many of its southern suburbs represented inside the district. Incumbent Rep. Craig has represented the district since 2018 and won reelection with 48% of the vote in 2020. The district is split between a heavily-liberal urban vote and more conservative suburban and rural vote and Republicans are hoping to jump on districts just like this one on their quest to retake control of the House. There were no primaries held in this district, so the only metrics are polling data, which has favored Rep. Craig. She currently has a 4% lead in the aggregate polling data, however a poll conducted just last week on October 16th showed her with only a 1% margin of victory. This is a district which President Biden won in 2020 by 7%. An unusual factor in this race may be third-party votes, in the form of the Legal Marijuana Now Party, which was able to capture 6% of the vote in 2020. Even more unusual is that this party’s nominee in this election, Paula Overby, died in October but remains on the ballot. If Democrats have any hope of keeping the House (a prospect which is looking more and more unlikely), they will need to keep this urban/rural districts. Tyler Kistner, the Republican nominee, is a former Marine and unsuccessful candidate for this seat in 2020. Polling seems to be in Rep. Craig’s favor, but this could be one of many seats to fall in a red wave of 2022.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (GAIN)


III. MN-03:

A. Current Representative: Dean Philips (D)

B. Population Distribution: Majority Urban and Suburban, Some Rural Areas

C. Demographics: 71% White, 11% African American, 10% Asian, 5% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: D+8 (Leans Democratic)

E. Outlook: The Minnesota 3rd District is the first of the three districts around the Twin Cities. It includes the western half of the metro area including the large Minneapolis suburbs of Brooklyn Park and Bloomington. Incumbent Rep. Philips has represented the district since 2018. He was reelected in 2020 with 56% of the vote. He holds a 17% lead in the aggregate polling data.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


IV. MN-04:

A. Current Representative: Betty McCollum (D)

B. Population Distribution: Largely Urban and Suburban

C. Demographics: 62% White, 15% Asian, 14% African American, 7% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: D+17 (Strong Democratic)

E. Outlook: The Minnesota 4th District includes the northern half of the city of Saint Paul, as well as all northeastern suburbs of the Twin Cities and stretches to the close border with Wisconsin. Incumbent Rep. McCollum has represented the district since 2000. She was reelected in 2020 with 63% of the vote. Despite easily winning her primary, Democrats still earned about 3.5x more votes than Republican candidates.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


V. MN-05:

A. Current Representative: Ilhan Omar (D)

B. Population Distribution: Urban

C. Demographics: 60% White, 20% African American, 10% Hispanic, 8% Asian

D. Cook PVI: D+30 (Strong Democratic)

E. Outlook: The most liberal district in the state, the Minnesota 5th District includes all of downtown Minneapolis. Progressive incumbent Rep. Omar has represented the district since 2018. Although she has garnered controversy for her views on Israel and other progressive topics such as defending the police, she remains popular in Minneapolis. Rep. Omar fought off a tough primary challenge and only won her primary by 2%, but received 6x more votes by herself than all Republican candidates in the district.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


VI. MN-06:

A. Current Representative: Tom Emmer (R)

B. Population Distribution: Mostly Suburban and Exurban, some Rural Areas

C. Demographics: 84% White, 6% African American

D. Cook PVI: R+12 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: The Minnesota 6th district includes the far northern exurbs of the Twin Cities as well as a large portion of the middle of the state. Incumbent Rep. Emmer has represented the district since 2014 and was reelected in 2020 with 66% of the vote. He leads by 30% in the aggregate polling data.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


VII. MN-07:

A. Current Representative: Michelle Fischbach (R)

B. Population Distribution: Overwhelmingly Rural

C. Demographics: 88% White, 5% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+19 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: The first of Minnesota’s two very large northern districts, the 7th District includes nearly half of the state within its borders. Stretching from the border with the Canadian province of Manitoba and also including borders with both Dakotas, the seventh is a very large and very rural district. Incumbent Rep. Fischbach has represented the district since 2020 when she was elected with 53% of the vote. Her district used to be in play for Democrats, but now has shifted far to the right. She earned more than twice as many votes by herself in an uncontested primary than all Democrats in their primary.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


VIII. MN-08:

A. Current Representative: Pete Stauber (R)

B. Population Distribution: Largely Rural, Some Urban and Suburban Areas

C. Demographics: 87% White, 7% Native American

D. Cook PVI: R+8 (Leans Republican)

E. Outlook: The Minnesota 8th District is another massive district in the north of the state which includes about half of the north of Minnesota, with the industrial city of Duluth, as well as smaller towns in the mining-heavy “Iron Range” in the district. Incumbent Rep. Stauber has represented the district since 2018 and was reelected in 2020 with 57% of the vote. His new district stretches down to the northeastern suburbs of the Twin Cities, and perhaps in an extremely favorable Democratic year, this district would be in play, but in a Republican-wave year, it is certainly not. Rep. Stauber has a 23% lead in the aggregate polling data.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


Governor

The other election taking place in Minnesota this year is for the Governor. Incumbent Democratic Governor Tim Walz is seeking his second term in office. He won in 2018 with 54% of the vote. He ran virtually unopposed in the Democratic primary. His Republican challenger is Scott Jensen, a family medicine physician and former member of the Minnesota State Senate. He also ran virtually unopposed in the Minnesota Republican primary, winning 89% of the vote. Gov. Walz earned about 120,000 more votes than Mr. Jensen. Although Gov. Walz is sure to have a tougher landscape in this election, he is still the favorite to win. He currently holds a 7.5% lead in the aggregate polling data, and has only trailed in one poll, a poll conducted last week which was sponsored by the Republican campaign and even in this poll he only trailed by 1%. In most other polls he has a lead of around 5%.


Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


Analysis

The Millennial Agora is predicting that the House races in Minnesota will lead to one change, and a gain for the Republicans. We also predict that the Democrats will hold on to the Governorship in the state.

Thank you for reading our preview of the midterm elections in Minnesota. Check back tomorrow as we look at the races in Mississippi, a deep-red state in the Deep South.



The state of the House after our predictions. Made at 270towin.com

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