All Eyes on Southeast Metro Senate District Ahead of Special Election

January 01, 2018 10:40 PM

Power and control in the Minnesota Senate is front and center, with a special election in Senate District 54 just a few weeks away.

Right now, Republicans hold a one-seat majority over the DFL, 34-33, but the recent resignation of DFL Sen. Dan Schoen makes the special election on Feb. 12 crucial for both parties.


Senate District 54 covers parts of Washington and Dakota Counties ranging from Hastings in the south, to Afton in the east, and South St. Paul to the west. 

RELATED: Schoen, Cornish Plan to Resign from Legislature Amid Sexual Harassment Claims

Hamline University professor David Schultz said this race is one that will be not only important to the 60,000 registered voters in District 54, but to the Legislature as a whole, as well.

"The control of the Minnesota Senate is worth billions of dollars when you really break it down and think about it," Schultz said. "If the DFL were to retain Schoen's seat and then gain one more seat in November, the shift of power goes to the DFL with the governorship and the Senate, and will have a huge impact on spending for education policy, taxes, transportation and humans services."

The DFL has endorsed former State Rep. Karla Bigham, while Republicans have endorsed former State Rep. Dennny McNamara.

At Franke's Bar in St. Paul Park, right in the heart of Senate District 54, voters were quick to point out that they are paying close attention to the upcoming special election.

"It is important to me because it is important who represents us," said resident Bob Purdy. "And I will absolutely vote on February 12."

RELATED: State Senator Schoen to Resign, Fight Sexual Harassment Allegations

Dennis Mroszak said he's also watching the special election with keen interest because the general election in November will be next.

"We need to get someone in there who is more of a regular person and someone who is willing to help people who really could use a break, like the middle class," he said.


Jay Kolls

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