2018 Shaping Up to Be High-Stakes Year for Minnesota Politics

January 01, 2018 09:22 PM

2018 looks to be one of the most high-stakes political cycles in Minnesota in years. From high-profile elections to high-profile scandals, Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier sat down with KSTP to discuss what's to come.

Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

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KSTP: We did this last year and you said 2017 would be a year of conflict in Minnesota politics. That held up pretty well. What's 2018 going to be?

STEVEN SCHIER: It'll probably be overtaken by the huge electoral activity in the state. So I would call it an electoral year from day one.

Q: On that note, I've heard Minnesota described as ground zero for the 2018 midterms. The governorship and two Senate seats are on the ballot, along with five U.S. House races that could swing control of the chamber. Not to mention Minnesota's entire state House will be on the ballot, too. Two questions: What are you watching most closely? Also, how does President Trump affect those races?

A: I think the big question for the future of Minnesota politics is the effect of Trump on Minnesota's elections. It could be that it's very bad for the GOP, produces a wipe out. On the other hand, it could be that when he comes and campaigns, he's able to garner some votes for his party. The future of the state government depends a lot on the future of the Trump administration.

Q: Minnesota's 2018 legislative session starts in February. Recently, the governor and the Legislature have battled each other in court, there's controversy over who is going to replace Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (who's replacing Sen. Al Franken), there have been other high-profile departures from Dayton's cabinet lately amid upheaval, and members of both parties have been hit with allegations of sexual harassment. With all of that, how much actually gets done in Minnesota in 2018?

A: The legislative session right now is a huge leap into the unknown, far more than usual, because we don't even know which party is in control of the state Senate.

Q: Last one: what is your big, bold tweet-length prediction for politics in Minnesota in 2018?

A: Record spending. I guarantee that. In fact, I'll put a fair amount of money on that one. Record spending because you have two U.S. Senate races, a lot of competitive U.S. House races, the state House, and all of the statewide elected offices, so I'm confident in saying we're entering record territory here.

Credits

Josh Rosenthal

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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