Three Minnesota Democrats held on as Trump won their seats in a landslidePosted: 2016-12-30
As we do every four years, Daily Kos Elections is calculating the results of the 2016 presidential election for all 435 congressional districts, and this series of posts explores the most interesting results on a state-by-state basis. You can find our complete data set here, which we’re updating continuously as the precinct-level election returns we need for our calculations become available. You can also click here to learn more about why this data is so difficult to come by.
Minnesota saw more ticket splitting than any state we’ve encountered so far in 2016. Three Democrats sit in seats that Donald Trump carried—all by double digits—while one Republican holds a seat that Hillary Clinton decisively won. Of the other four seats, two Republicans sit in Trump seats and two Democrats hold safely blue Clinton districts. Barack Obama carried Minnesota 53-45 in 2012 and took six of its eight congressional districts (though two were very close). Clinton won the Land of 10,000 Lakes 47-45 and carried just three of the state’s congressional districts.
We’ll take a look at the Democratic-held Trump seats first. The 1st, which includes all of Minnesota’s southern border, violently swung from 50-48 Obama to 53-38 Trump. This stunning shift almost threw Democratic Rep. Tim Walz out of office. During the 2014 GOP wave, Walz turned back a weak challenge from Republican Jim Hagedorn 54-46; in 2016, Walz beat Hagedorn, who still had little money or outside support, just 50.4-49.6. Walz hasn’t ruled out a 2018 bid for governor, but national Democrats will probably put pressure on Walz to stay and defend his seat.
Over in the 7th, which includes the state’s rural northwest corner, there was another huge swing toward Trump. Mitt Romney had carried the 7th by an already-strong 54-44, but Trump dominated 62-31 here. Longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson had turned back a well-funded opponent 54-46 during the 2014 GOP wave, but he beat his Some Dude GOP opponent by a smaller 52.5-47.5 margin in 2016.
The 8th, located in the Iron Range in the northeast corner of the state, also shifted dramatically toward the GOP. While Obama carried the seat 52-46, Trump won it 54-39. However, Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan pulled off a second straight win against rich guy Stewart Mills, 50.3-49.7—a margin of 2,025 votes. Nolan also beat Mills 49-47 during the 2014 GOP wave.