2022 Elections Shake Up Minnesota Legislature

Date: November 16, 2022

Two NFIB Members Elected to Top Posts

The 2022 election results were a surprise to many around the country and in Minnesota. Generally, the president’s party loses seats at the federal and state levels during midterm elections. This election was much more uneven than past midterms and yielded mixed results around the country.

This is true as true at the Minnesota Legislature as it as for U.S. Congress. The last four midterm elections produced the following net seat change in the Minnesota House of Representatives:

2006 (Bush): +19 Democrats

2010 (Obama): +25 Republicans

2014 (Obama): +11 Republicans

2018 (Trump): +18 Democrats

This year, the net change in House seats was zero. Democrats remain in control of the Minnesota House by margin of 70 to 64.

In the Minnesota Senate, Democrats gained a net three seats to take the slimmest of majorities: 34 seats to 33 seats. Underscoring the closely divided nature of the Senate and state, Republicans held one seat by less than 1 percent and Democrats won three seats by less than 5 percent.

The makeup of Republicans and Democrats in each chamber continued to change. Similar to the 2018 and 2020 elections, Democrats held and grew their advantage in the suburbs. Republicans held and grew their advantage outside the metro.

With Governor Tim Walz winning re-election and the state Senate flipping, Democrats have complete control of state government for the first time since 2013-14.

Those were challenging years for the small business community, with employer mandate and tax increase proposals flying around. We are hopeful the narrow Senate margin will allow for moderation to prevail in St. Paul.

NFIB will be there fighting for the rights of small business owners every step of the way.

New Leaders Emerge Post-Election

After the election, all four legislative caucuses met to elect their leadership. Among the new leaders are two NFIB members were selected for top posts.

House Democrats stuck with Speaker Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park) for the top spot and elected Rep. Jamie Long (D-Minneapolis) as the Majority Leader. Long replaces retiring Rep. Ryan Winkler, who ran for Hennepin County Attorney.

Long was first elected in 2018 and served as chair of the House Energy & Climate Committee for the past two years. He pursued an ambitious and expensive agenda to transform the state’s energy system and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Outside of the Legislature, he previously worked for then-Congressman Keith Ellison and is a staff attorney at the Public Health Law Center in St. Paul.

Senate Democrats elected Sen. Kari Dziedzic (D-Minneapolis) as the new Majority Leader and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (D-Minneapolis) as Senate President.

First elected in a 2012 special election, Dziedzic represents Northeast Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota and the Cedar-Riverside area. Prior to the Legislature, she served as a policy aide for Democratic officials at several levels of government.

From a storied Northeast Minneapolis family, Dziedzic’s reputation is as a thoughtful legislator with a tempered approach to policymaking. She will have her hands full managing the narrow majority with a caucus that is dominated by urban progressives but took control thanks to somewhat unexpected victories in swing rural and suburban races.

Champion was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2008 and moved to the Senate in 2012. An attorney, he represents North Minneapolis and much of downtown. Prior to the Legislature, Champion served as an assistant attorney general in the 1990s and 2000s.

Senate Republicans elected third-term Sen. Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks) as minority leader. He replaces Sen. Jeremy Miller, a small businessman from Winona, as caucus leader. A longtime NFIB member, Johnson is an attorney and co-owner of a family-run concrete construction company.

Like his predecessor, Johnson is a strong ally of small business. He will lead their caucus in standing up for Main Street against radical tax and employer mandate proposals.

House Republicans elected Rep. Lisa Demuth (R-Cold Spring). Also an NFIB member, Demuth was first elected in 2018. She and her husband co-own a small business. Prior to the Legislature, Demuth served on the ROCORI School Board in Central Minnesota.

Demuth has been a key voice for Main Street during her time in the Legislature. She will look to rebuild the caucus and lead them to the majority in 2024.

Related Content: Small Business News | Minnesota

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