National group says it will spend record amount to help GOP win control in Minnesota, other states

The Republican State Leadership Committee will dedicate some of its $38 million to help the GOP flip the Minnesota House.

The Minnesota House chambers in the State Capitol Building pictured June 8, 2022. (Shutterstock)

Just one week after the nationally televised debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, a campaign committee representing Republican state House candidates in Minnesota believes momentum is on its side for breaking up the DFL trifecta at the Capitol this fall.

And they will get some help from a national group that brands itself as “America’s only defense against socialism in the states.”

The Republican State Leadership Committee announced last week it’s pledging an additional $38 million to aid Republican legislative candidates across a handful of states it believes are ripe to either expand, retain or regain legislative majorities on Nov. 5. Minnesota is included among that bunch.

“As of  tonight … the map is expanded,” said Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, following the June 27 presidential debate, which even Biden’s biggest supporters admitted was a “poor” performance for the 81-year-old president.

Heintzeman’s optimistic analysis was a reference to the idea that Minnesota and a handful of other traditional Democratic strongholds in presidential elections are more in play than they have been in decades.

And that usually means a trickle-down effect on the ballot, a sentiment the Minnesota House Republican Campaign Committee echoed in a recent social media post.

recent poll of voters in Minnesota shows Trump with a slight edge over Biden with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. now officially on the ballot.

Those on the national level who are paying close attention to states like Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania — which are in position for a GOP “flip” in at least one of their legislative chambers — believe so too.

“National Democrats are in full blown panic mode after watching Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance, leading to many prominent Democrats calling for Joe Biden to be removed from the Democrat ticket altogether,” Stephanie Rivera, a spokesperson for the Republican State Leadership Committee, told Alpha News this week. “With Democrats in complete disarray, the American people deserve to know if down-ballot state Democrats will continue to stand by Joe Biden or join those calls for him to step aside.”

Republican optimism in Minnesota comes at a time when June campaign finance reports show the House DFL Caucus reported about $1.15 million cash on hand, compared to the House Republican Campaign Committee’s nearly $790,000 cash on hand.

Control of the Minnesota Senate also hangs in the balance, with one west metro seat up for grabs in a special election this fall. Kelly Morrison’s resignation to pursue a seat in Congress leaves the state Senate deadlocked at 33-33 among GOP and DFL seats.

Over the weekend House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, stumped for candidates in noted metro area swing districts. While Hortman has been silent on Biden’s debate performance and recent polls in Minnesota, the long-tenured DFL legislator has announced plans to campaign in Lake Elmo on Monday for DFL House candidate Lucia Wroblewski in a district, 41A, that Republicans won by less than 200 votes in 2022.

Republicans control majority of legislative chambers

Across the national landscape, Republicans control 57 state legislative chambers while Democrats hold majorities in 49.

“Tight margins in numerous states means that just five chambers stand in the way of Democrats gaining a national majority,” wrote Dee Duncan, president for the Republican State Leadership Committee, in a June 25 memo to supporters.

While Democrats haven’t had control of a majority of state legislative chambers across the country since 2010, RSLC analysis shows that “a mere 33 seats stand in the way of Democrats flipping the five chambers they need to achieve this feat,” Duncan wrote.

The RSLC has categorized its targeted states where it has pledged to help Republicans win or retain legislative majorities.

Majorities to defend:
  • Arizona House (+2 GOP) and Senate (+2 GOP)
  • Wisconsin House and Senate (redistricting litigation)
  • Pennsylvania Senate (+6 GOP)
  • New Hampshire House (+4 GOP) and Senate (+5 GOP)
  • Georgia House (+24 GOP) and Senate (+10 GOP)
Opportunities to flip chambers
  • Michigan House (Democrat +2)
  • Pennsylvania House (Democrat +2)
  • Minnesota House (Democrat +6)

The organization also hopes to deploy resources to defend legislative supermajorities in: Ohio, Florida, Kansas and North Carolina.

A competing organization that helps elect Democratic legislators said last month that it believes the DFL crop of state House candidates gives Democrats “favorable odds” of maintaining their trifecta at the Capitol. It didn’t announce whether it would pledge money to Minnesota.


Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.