In MN, the way we pick our candidates for a race is more complicated than most states. There is the primary election, which is the binding decision of who makes the ballot. But earlier than the primary, both parties run an endorsement process. Activists show up typically to an empty school, classrooms divided out by precinct. Then a number of people from each precinct get sent to the endorsement at the state senate or county level, depending on how big geographically the state senate district is. From there, delegates are chosen for the congressional district convention and then statewide. Both parties try to talk forcefully enough to make the endorsement seem binding, but anyone is free to ignore the process and just go for the primary. This is what Gov. Dayton did, but he had the personal wealth to ignore the process, as being endorsed typically means the party will spend money on you. Also, party support can also lead to support from rich people within the party.
Below the fold, we get into how and why the GOP is considering putting restrictions on candidates who do not abide by the endorsement, a move the DFL would no longer need to consider because of our considerable money advantage.
I decided to see what could be done to maximize the number of Democrats coming from Georgia and I think I did a pretty good job. This map has eight seats Obama won in 2008, although one he won barely. But I figure if Obama can win, then John Barrow should have no problem. So most likely scenario is a 8-6 split in favor of the Dems.
Here is my full analysis of the new Minnesota state legislative maps complete with individual race ratings for every seat. Needless to say, I do not know everything about every region of the state nor did I research hardly any of the challengers in each race. So ultimately, my ratings rely more on the numbers and less on personal or anecdotal information that can only be known by knowing each race on a deeper level. I'd say this lead my ratings to being somewhat conservative, particularly in the suburbs. But at the same time, by eliminating my personal feelings that can't be factually proven, my ratings become almost an over-all rating for the map itself versus an analysis of how I think 2012 will go. Particularly since it's hard to judge how it will go here in Minnesota as even while Obama is expected to come close to his 2008 margins, I think we'll see differences in where those votes are coming from within the state. And, we also have areas in the state where Obama winning by 10% isn't enough to carry state legislative races over the finish line.
The courts tried to change as little of the map as possible, while totally ignoring incumbent residency in the process. Lots of people got screwed over, but ultimately, the map changed little. It was a given that the DFL would lose a state house seat in Minneapolis and St. Paul apiece, with the a Greater MN seat of theirs also most likely. This was to make room for new seats in the exurbs, and this thinking came to fruition. But as I say above, this doesn't help the Republicans very much. The main problem for them is that they won so many seats in 2010 that they have very few pick-up opportunities. In fact, if it weren't for some opportune retirements, it's likely they wouldn't have picked up anything. Below are a map of the state senate and the state house showing how I rate them along with the summation of the ratings. The main thing to point out on these maps is that every single toss-up seat is held by Republicans. Also, we only need 5 seats to tie, 6 to win, the state house, and four seats in the state senate to win the majority there.
Safe GOP: 21; Likely GOP: 4; Lean GOP: 3; Toss-Up: 10; Lean DFL: 2; Likely DFL: 3; Safe DFL: 24
Safe GOP: 44; Likely GOP: 8; Lean GOP: 6; Toss-Up: 14; Lean DFL: 7; Likely DFL: 7; Safe DFL: 48