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Friday, November 9, 2018

Mapping the 2018 Minnesota Legislative House Election Results

Following yesterday’s IMO blog, where statewide election results for many major races were reported at the precinct-level, today we report on the results of the Minnesota State House elections at the legislative district-level.  Here Democrats won the majority in the 2018 Minnesota State House, capturing 75 of the 134 seats, and like many other current election contests, they did well in urban portions of the Twin Cities metro, in Northeastern Minnesota, in the Moorhead area and in various districts in Southeastern Minnesota.

Minnesota House of Representatives

The map series below shows that Democrats have held the state house in two of the last four election cycles, in 2012 and 2018, while Republicans held the majority in 2014 and 2016. In 2012, Democrats held 73 seats, including more Outstate districts than in 2018— as shown on the map below, a more expanded blue area in Northeastern and Western Minnesota, as well along the I-35 corridor south of the Twin Cities. While the Democrats lost many of these rural districts by 2018, they gained even more overall seats this year (n=75) by expanding their victories in the metro, capturing most districts in the Twin Cities urbanized area.

Republicans have consistently continued to take away Outstate seats from Democrats, and have held seats in the outer ring suburbs of the Twin Cities in 2012, 2014 and 2016, even encroaching closer to first ring suburbs in 2016. Yet in 2018, they lost seats in every second ring Twin Cities' suburb.

House Control in Four Election Cycles

The maps below show which party now holds house districts in 2018, by how many times the winning party held them over the last four election cycles. Republicans have consistently held the house in a diagonal band across the state, interrupted by the Twin Cities and the Moorhead and Winona areas. This consistency can also be seen Outstate across Southwest Minnesota.

Democrats, on the other hand, have consistently won seats in the Twin Cities’ central cities, inner suburbs and roughly half of the second ring suburbs.  They have also done well in the Duluth area and the Iron Range in Northeastern Minnesota, as well as in some districts containing Outstate cities, including Austin, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester and Winona.


House Control by Margins of Victory

Another way to consider how stable the latest house election results might be is to determine the the margins of victory for the districts in 2018. Here the Republican margins of victory are highest (won by more than 30 percentage points) West and Northwest of the Twin Cities and in the Northwestern and Southwestern corners of the state. For Democrats, the victory margins are highest in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and their inner ring suburbs, as well as Outstate in Duluth, Moorhead and Winona.

Most of districts that were won with low margins of victory (won by less than 10 percentage points) were in the Twin Cities’ second and outer ring suburbs, including 18 of the 24 low margin districts. Overall, Democrats won 16 out of 24 of these districts, and of those 16, only 1 was held by Democrats in 2016. Clearly 2020 looks like it will be shaping up to be a battle over the suburbs. 


Over the course of four state house election cycles, Republicans have increased the margins of victory in Outstate Minnesota. While the loss of the Democratic Outstate vote has contributed to Republican majority houses in 2014 and 2016, the blue wave across Twin Cities’ suburbs offset such losses for Democrats whose party reached a convincing victory in 2018. Future Republican success is unlikely without the party taking the into consideration issues and concerns of metro area voters.

Conversely, Democrats still gain significant shares of Minnesota’s Outstate vote. Northeast Minnesota, for instance, has been reliably voting Democratic across races and time periods, and many smaller Outstate cities have consistently voted Democratic as well. While Democrats may need to focus on solidifying Twin Cities’ metro gains, it would be detrimental for them to ignore Outstate Minnesota, especially in the smaller metro areas outside of the Twin Cities’ region.

1 comment:

  1. Your analysis of the election results provides valuable insight into the political landscape of Minnesota during those years. To stay updated with such informative information, I would suggest considering using platforms like Yo whatsapp. It can serve as a convenient tool for sharing news, analysis, and updates with a wider audience. Its messaging and group features make it easy to engage in discussions and exchange valuable information. By utilizing WhatsApp, you can actively participate in discussions, share your insights, and keep others informed about political developments and election results. It's a great way to stay connected and contribute to a well-informed community.