The GOP managed to regain control of four House seats captured by Democrats in 2006 only to lose another six. The net loss of two Republican members brings the total party split in the House to 87 DFL and 47 Republicans.
House DFLers didn’t get a supermajority of seats, but Tuesday’s election results still provided reason to smile.
The party lost four seats, but gained six others and has an 87-47 split heading into the 2009 session, tied for the biggest majority advantage in three decades. The split was 85-48-1 when members adjourned last May. A 90-seat majority would allow for a gubernatorial override if all members voted along party lines.
House Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm) said the results were a reflection of what was accomplished in the past two years with the DFL in charge after eight years of a Republican majority.
“First and foremost, getting done on time and on budget, making good investments, property tax relief, job creation, transportation and education,” he said.
A potential multi-billion dollar budget deficit is expected to hang over the upcoming session.
Sertich said nothing has been finalized to resolve the problem. He added that it would be a “disservice” to the newly elected members to presuppose a direction.
“We’ll wait to see what the budget forecast is at the end of November, and see what the governor comes up with. We have to do our work and oversight and then see what comes out of the February forecast before we can really figure out what the size of the issue will be.
“There are different options depending on the size of the budget deficit. The size will definitely dictate what our next steps are.”
Many Republicans believe that a tax increase is a certainty.
Sertich called that a “fear tactic” that hasn’t worked. However, he would not rule out a tax bump or any other solution because the full extent of the issue is unknown.
The plan is to reach out to the minority caucus and Gov. Tim Pawlenty to construct bipartisan solutions, like happened with last session’s renewable energy standards and health care reform legislation.
“I’m not going to sit here today and say we’re pitchforks and torches ready to go after the governor,” Sertich said. “We’re ready to cooperate.”
New members elected to the House of Representatives
Democrats increased their numbers by two seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives; however, Republicans retained enough seats to ensure against a veto-override majority.
Final numbers will not be certified until the State Canvassing Board meets later this month, but it appears that Democrats will hold 87 seats to the Republicans 47 when the 86th legislative session begins Jan. 6, 2009. The split was 85-48-1 entering Election Day. Ninety votes are needed for a gubernatorial override.
All totaled, the House will see 23 new members — 12 Republicans and 11 DFLers.
According to the Office of the Secretary of State, two races may be subject to recount. They are District 12B, where incumbent Al Doty (DFL-Royalton) leads Mike Lemieur by 76 votes, and District 16A where incumbent Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) trails Gail Kulick Jackson by 99 votes.
New members-elect are:
Paul Anderson (R-Starbuck)
Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis)
Greg Davids (R-Preston)
Connie Doepke (R-Wayzata)
Keith Downey (R-Edina)
Andrew Falk (DFL-Murdock)
Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis)
Kory Kath (DFL-Owatonna)
Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing)
Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake)
Gail Kulick Jackson (DFL-Milaca)*
Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie)
Tara Mack (R-Apple Valley)
Mark Murdock (R-Ottertail)
Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids)
Mike Obermueller (DFL-Eagan)
John Persell (DFL-Bemidji)
Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth)
Paul Rosenthal (DFL-Edina)
Tim Sanders (R-Blaine)
Peggy Scott (R-Andover)
Phil Sterner (DFL-Rosemount)
Paul Torkelson (R-St. James)
For a guide to the members-elect of the House of Representatives, based on unofficial results compiled by the Office of the Secretary of State, go to www.house.mn and click on “2008 Election Directory.”
*Subject to recount based on Secretary of State numbers.