RCP Ranking: Leans Dem
----------PAST KEY RACES----------
2016: President | MN-2 | MN-3 | MN-8
2014: Governor | Senate | MN-1 | MN-2 | MN-7 | MN-8
2012: President | Senate | MN-6 | MN-8
2010: Governor | MN-1 | MN-6 | MN-7 | MN-8
2008: President | Senate | MN-3 | MN-6
2006: Senate | Governor | MN-6
|RCP Average||7/15 - 8/11||--||--||40.5||31.5||Smith +9.0|
|EmersonEmerson||8/8 - 8/11||500 LV||4.6||32||28||Smith +4|
|NBC News/MaristNBC/Marist||7/15 - 7/19||876 RV||4.0||49||35||Smith +14|
It is difficult to imagine today, but before the 1940s there was no Democratic Party in Minnesota to speak of. From the election of Abraham Lincoln through 1948, it had never elected a Democratic senator (though one was appointed for a two-month stint in 1900). It sent a total of 15 Democrats to Congress during that time. But the Democratic Party fused with the left-leaning Farmer-Labor Party in 1944 and created a dominant force in state politics. From 1948 through 1978 the tables were turned: the state elected just one Republican senator.
In the mid-'70s, the DFL began to decline in popularity, and for a time the state had two Republican senators. Today it is thought of as a swing state, even though it hasn't voted Republican at the presidential level since 1972.
The state's senior senator is Amy Klobuchar, a former Hennepin County (Minneapolis) attorney. Elected in 2006 by a surprising 21-point margin, she has maintained high levels of popularity despite a voting record that is probably to the left of the state. None of her Republican challengers seem likely to pose much of a threat to her, especially in the present environment.