City and County Legislative Updates for Region 5 - Nov. 2018
By Sourcewell Government Relations team
Election Day 2018 has come and gone. In battles for elected office across the country and around Minnesota, voters cast their ballots to determine our leaders for the next two, four, and six years. The 2018 midterm elections were historic for many reasons. Notably, its estimated that candidates, parties, political action committees, and outside groups spent a record-breaking $5 billion on advertising, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The 2018 election also featured an unprecedented number of United States Senate and House races with two female candidates, including in some of the country’s most high-profile cases. Between state and national level races, nearly 3,700 women were major-party endorsed candidates and as a result, many states elected, for the first time, female candidates. Nationally, 123 women were elected with 33 of those races between two female candidates. These numbers more than doubled those of 2016. There are still nine races with female candidates that are currently undecided. Lastly, the midterm elections are often not necessarily tied closely to policy issues. That was not the case this past Tuesday; health care, immigration, gun violence, and climate change were all paramount issues in elections around the country.
Nationally, all 435 members of the US House of Representatives were up for election, as were 33 members of the Senate. As predicted, the Republican party's control in the House was lost to the Democrats by a wide margin. Of the 427 races that have been determined, Democrats were successful in their effort to take the majority by gaining 33 new seats. There are still eight races undecided.
In the Senate, Republicans kept their majority, defeating three incumbents in Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Races in Florida and Mississippi remain undecided, those outcomes are not expected to change party control come 2019.
Minnesota was the one state where both Senate seats were on the ballot because of the resignation of Al Franken in late 2017. In those races, both incumbents were successful in their races. Minnesota’s congressional delegation races were not without fanfare, incumbents Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis lost their challenges, and in the 1st, 5th, and 8th districts, newcomers Jim Hagedorn, Illhan Omar, and Pete Stauber, respectively, were successful in their races. Omar is the first Muslim-American elected to Congress anywhere in the United States. She replaced outgoing member of Congress Keith Ellison. Collin Peterson continues to represent Region 5 in part, with Stauber representing the northeastern counties of the region.
Statewide, Minnesotans elected a new governor and two new constitutional officers. Tim Walz and Peggy Flannagan will be the next governor and lieutenant governor, Julie Blaha the state auditor, and Keith Ellison as attorney general. Secretary of State Steve Simon was also reelected for another four-year term. Minnesotans also cast ballots for the entire state House of Representatives, and like the national scene, control of that body also was won by Democrats. They picked up 18 seats in the election and will hold a 75-59 advantage when they return to St. Paul in January.
There was one special election in the state Senate for former senator and lieutenant governor Michele Fischbach. Jeff Howe was successful in defeating Joe Perske in that race. The Senate will be made up of 34 Republicans and 33 Democrats. The regional representation at the capitol will remain the same, except for returning House of Representatives member John Persell who will again represent the northern townships of Cass County after being out of office for two years.
Newly elected officials, especially in a year such as 2018 with many political newcomers nationally and statewide, give implication to many issues facing school districts and local governments. While difficult to ascertain which issues will be of most prominence in 2019, it can be expected legislators in Minnesota and in Washington, D.C., will negotiate new tax policy, education funding, health care, and transportation infrastructure issues.
Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota’s nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 300 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.