Minnesota back in 2020 election spotlight

June 11, 2019 05:30 AM

Brace yourself for what could be the wildest and most expensive election year for Minnesota in 2020.

All signs point to another record-setting year of outside spending, with at least four hotly-contested U.S. House seats, a U.S. Senate race and presidential race.

All 201 Minnesota legislative seats will also be up for grabs.

"There are very few states that offer as many pick-up opportunities (in the U.S. House) for Democrats and Republicans," said Larry Jacobs, with the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

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President Donald Trump narrowly lost Minnesota in 2016 and he has vowed to work hard to become the first Republican to win Minnesota since 1972.

"Certainly Donald Trump has made it clear he's going to be visiting," Jacobs said. "He's going to be raising money for both his campaign for president and re-election and also for Republican congressional candidates."

A good barometer for national interest in Minnesota is in the "outside" spending by special interest groups who pour money into the state. A record $41 million was spent here in 2018, breaking records of $27 million and $21 million set in 2016 and 2014. There's a good chance another record amount will be spent in 2020.

On top of Democrats and Republicans battling each other, there's also a chance Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar could face a primary challenger after a series of controversies, including statements about Israel and campaign finance violations.

"The only way an incumbent Democrat would lose in the 5th District is if another Democrat could launch a successful challenge in a primary," Jacobs said.

However, he says a House Democratic incumbent has never lost a primary in Minnesota history.


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Tom Hauser

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