It may have been the Republicans’ own undoing.
The party’s push for the two failed ballot initiatives—the marriage amendment and voter ID—energized Minnesota Democrats, helping tilt the balance of power at the Capitol back to the DFL, said Alberder Gillespie, District 53 DFL chair.
“(Voters) saw that was a political agenda, it was not based on values,” she said.
In Woodbury legislative races, two of three seats went to Democrats.
Senate District 53 saw incumbent Republican Ted Lillie—who rose quickly as a party leader as a freshman lawmaker—defeated by Susan Kent. DFLer JoAnn Ward won in House District 53A.
Only House District 53B Rep. Andrea Kieffer, who was elected to a second term, won for the GOP in local races.
For her part, Keiffer said she planned to speak with Kent and Ward.
“And I’ll be reaching out to folks and letting them know how to get in touch with me and making sure they have a voice at the Capitol,” she said.
Joe Salmon, District 53 Republican chair, did return a phone call seeking comment.
While the DFL now controls the House, Senate and governor’s office, Gillespie said she has spoken with party leaders who are ready to move forward in a spirit of bipartisanship.
“Hopefully, it’s not only victory for our party, but a victory for our state,” she said. “The people want us to work together.”
Those comments were echoed in a statement state Rep. Paul Thissen released Wednesday.
“Voters said loud and clear yesterday that they expect their legislators put aside the extreme partisanship, end the gridlock and work together to find common ground in order to move our state forward,” he said. “That’s precisely what this new DFL majority will do."