Handicapping The House

While the “Left MN” blog seems to be a re-boot of the late, demented but unlamented “Cucking Stool”, the site’s associate blogger Tony Petrangelo is one of those rare Minnesota leftybloggers who ought not be under police surveillance – a compliment I give rarely (becaiuse it’s rarely deserved).  Over the years, he’s written some excellent stuff about polling, redistricting, and the mechanics of politics.

And this past week, he’s been releasing a set of predictions for the MN House and Senate.  He’s done this before, by the way:

This is my second time doing race ratings of Minnesota legislative elections, the first time being in 2010. Here are links to my Senate ratings and House ratings from that cycle. I used a Safe/Tilt/Toss-up ratings scale and prior to the election I rated the Senate seats as 31 total DFL seats (Safe+Tilt), 19 total GOP seats and 17 Toss-ups.

The GOP won all 19 seats I had them winning. They also won every single race I had listed as a toss-up. They also won a race I had listed as Tilt DFL, the Don Betzold – Pam Wolf race. Clearly 2010 was a wave year for the GOP.

Still, as Petrangelo notes, it was a game effort:

That said, I don’t think my ratings did particularly bad especially since there was no sort of adjustment incorporated to account for the broader political context of the election.

We’ll come back to that.

As with my previous foray into race ratings I’ve kept this years version to an entirely numbers based exercise. Meaning at no point is a race rating the way it is because I made a subjective judgement about the quality of a candidate.

There’s some more methodology talk in there, which you should oughtta read, because it’s useful stuff and I don’t disagree with any of it.

Which is notable, in that my own ratings below are largely the opposite.

Well, not entirely; in many, maybe most cases, I agree with Petrangelo.  In many others, I made a different prediction because of some qualitative aspect to the race that isn’t readily apparent in the empirical numbers Petrangelo used.  A race held after a redistricting is going to toss a lot of those empirical measures up in the air – as will a wave election (as Petrangelo discovered in 2010).  While this may not be a wave year, there’s a dynamic at work that I think will affect a lot of these races.

I’ll do the House of Representatives first.  I’ll include the House District, the DFLer, the GOPer, Petrangelo’s rating, and mine; if mine differ from Petrangelo’s they’ll be in bold.



HD DFL Candidate GOP Candidate Petrangelo Berg
01A Bruce Patterson Dan Fabian Lean GOP I’m thinking Fabian’s pretty safe. I’ll call it Likely GOP
01B Marc DeMers Debra Kiel Toss-up Incumbency, Obama’s weak coat-tails and a strong Byberg bid makes this Leans GOP in my book
02A Roger Erickson David Hancock Toss-up I’m going to say Hancock holds this one.  Leans GOP.
02B Brita Sailer Steve Green Toss-up Toss-up.  I’d say Sailer’s incumbency would count, but I don’t think the DFL’s that strong in the area.
03A David Dill Jim Tuomala Safe DFL Safe DFL
03B Mary Murphy Keith MacDonald Safe DFL Safe DFL
04A Ben Lien Travis Reimche Likely DFL Likely DFL
04B Paul Marquart Paul Sandman Lean DFL Lean DFL
05A John Persell Larry Howes Toss-up I’m going to stay on “toss-up” for this one.
05B Tom Anzelc Carolyn McElfatrick Toss-up Call me pollyanna, but I’m going with Lean GOP.  Just a hunch.
06A Carly Melin Roger Weber Safe DFL Safe DFL
06B Jason Metsa Jesse Colangelo Safe DFL Safe DFL
07A Thomas Huntley Therese Bower Safe DFL Safe DFL
07B Erik Simonson Travis Silvers Safe DFL Safe DFL
08A Chet Nettestad Bud Nornes Safe GOP Safe DFL
08B Bob Cunniff Mary Franson Likely GOP Likely GOP
09A Don Niles Mark Anderson Likely GOP Likely GOP
09B Adrian Welle Ron Kresha Safe GOP Safe GOP
10A John Ward Chris Kellett Toss-up Tough one.  I’d like to make this “Leans GOP”, but Kellett’s a newcomer.
10B Joe Radinovich Dale Lueck Toss-up Toss-up
11A Mike Sundin Jim Putnam Safe DFL Safe DFL
11B Tim Faust Ben Wiener Toss-up Toss-up
12A Jay McNamar Scott Dutcher Toss-up Toss-up
12B Rick Rosenfield Paul Anderson Safe GOP Safe GOP
13A Richard Bohannon Jeff Howe Likely GOP Likely GOP
13B Shannon Schroeder Tim O’Driscoll Safe GOP Safe GOP
14A Anne Nolan Steve Gottwalt Lean GOP Lean GOP
14B Zachary Dorholt King Banaian Toss-up I’m going with Lean GOP. Redistricting, incumbency, the SCTrib endorsement and a great record will make this an easier race than 2010.  Hopefully.
15A Joe Walsh Sondra Erickson Likely GOP Likely GOP
15B Brian Johnson Jim Newberger Safe GOP Safe GOP
16A Al Kruse Chris Swedzinski Lean GOP Lean GOP
16B James Kanne Paul Torkelson Likely GOP Likely GOP
17A Andrew Falk Tim Miller Toss-up Toss-up
17B Mary Sawatzky Bruce Vogel Lean GOP Lean GOP
18A Nancy Larson Dean Urdahl Likely GOP Likely GOP
18B Logan Campa Glenn Gruenhagen Safe GOP Safe GOP
19A Terry Morrow Safe DFL Safe DFL
19B Kathy Brynaert Thad Shunkwiler Likely DFL Likely DFL
20A Ryan Wolf Kelby Woodard Safe GOP Safe GOP
20B David Bly Brian Wermerskirchen Likely DFL Likely DFL
21A John Bacon Tim Kelly Lean GOP Lean GOP
21B Bruce Montplaisir Steve Drazkowski Likely GOP I’ll go with Safe GOP
22A Eugene Short Joe Schomacker Likely GOP Likely GOP
22B Cheryl Avenel-Navara Rod Hamilton Lean GOP #
23A Kevin Labenz Bob Gunther Likely GOP Likely GOP
23B Tony Cornish Safe GOP Safe GOP
24A Craig Brenden John Petersburg Lean GOP Lean GOP
24B Patti Fritz Dan Kaiser Toss-up Toss-up
25A John Vossen Duane Quam Lean GOP I’ll call this Likely GOP
25B Kim Norton Melissa Valeriano Lean DFL Lean DFL
26A Tina Liebling Breanna Bly Likely DFL Likely DFL
26B Patrick Stallman Mike Benson Likely GOP Likely GOP
27A Shannon Savick Rich Murray Lean DFL Lean DFL
27B Jeanne Poppe Nathan Neitzell Likely DFL Likely DFL
28A Gene Pelowski Adam Pace Safe DFL Safe DFL
28B Ken Tschumper Greg Davids Lean GOP Lean GOP
29A Susann Dye Joe McDonald Safe GOP Safe GOP
29B Barrett Chrissis Marion O’Neill Likely GOP Likely GOP
30A Holly Neuman Nick Zerwas Safe GOP Safe GOP
30B Sharon Shimek David Fitzsimmons Safe GOP Safe GOP
31A Ryan Fiereck Kurt Daudt Safe GOP Safe GOP
31B Louise Woodberry Tom Hackbarth Safe GOP Safe GOP
32A Paul Gammel Brian Johnson Likely GOP Likely GOP
32B Rick Olseen Bob Barrett Likely GOP Likely GOP
33A Todd Mikkelson Jerry Hertaus Safe GOP Safe GOP
33B Denise Bader Cindy Pugh Likely GOP Safe GOP
34A Adam Fisher Joyce Peppin Safe GOP Safe GOP
34B David Hoden Kurt Zellers Safe GOP Safe GOP
35A Andy Hillebregt Jim Abeler Safe GOP Safe GOP
35B Sam Scott Peggy Scott Safe GOP Safe GOP
36A Grace Baltich Mark Uglem Lean GOP Lean GOP
36B Melissa Hortman Andrew Reinhardt Lean DFL Lean DFL
37A Jerry Newton Mandy Benz Toss-up Toss-up
37B Jon Chlebeck Tim Sanders Lean GOP Lean GOP
38A Patrick Davern Linda Runbeck Safe GOP Safe GOP
38B Greg Pariseau Matt Dean Likely GOP I’ll go with Safe GOP
39A John Bruno Bob Dettmer Likely GOP ‘ll call this Safe GOP
39B Tom Degree Kathy Lohmer Toss-up Given Obama’s non-coattails and an excellent campaign, I’ll run with Lean GOP on this one.
40A Michael Nelson Safe DFL Safe DFL
40B Debra Hilstrom Richard Cushing Safe DFL Safe DFL
41A Connie Bernardy Dale Helm Safe DFL Safe DFL
41B Carolyn Laine Laura Palmer Safe DFL Safe DFL
42A Barb Yarusso Russ Bertsch Toss-up I’ll call this one Lean GOP
42B Jason Isaacson Ken Rubenzer Likely DFL Likely DFL
43A Peter Fischer Stacey Stout Lean DFL This is a Toss-Up
43B Leon Lillie Kevin Klein Safe DFL Safe DFL
44A Audrey Britton Sarah Anderson Toss-up Toss-up (UPDATE:  Not sure how this one escaped me.  Sarah Anderson is dynamite, and I’d actually change this one to Safe GOP, except that the western subs are weird and I don’t always understand them.  Let’s be conservative and call it “Leans GOP“)
44B John Benson Mark Stefan Likely DFL Likely DFL
45A Lyndon Carlson Jeff Pauley Lean DFL Lean DFL, sorry to say.
45B Mike Freiberg Reid Johnson Safe DFL Likely DFL
Liely DF46A Ryan Winkler John Swanson Safe DFL Safe DFL
46B Steve Simon David Arvidson Safe DFL Safe DFL
47A Keith Pickering Ernie Leidiger Safe GOP Safe GOP
47B Joe Hoppe Safe GOP Safe GOP
48A Yvonne Selcer Kirk Stensrud Toss-up Toss-up
48B Tori Hill Jenifer Loon Likely GOP Likely GOP
49A Ron Erhardt Bill Glahn Toss-up Lean GOP; Erhard’s the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.
49B Paul Rosenthal Terry Jacobson Toss-up Lean GOP
50A Linda Slocum Craig Marston Safe DFL Safe DFL
50B Ann Lenczewski Richard Bohnen Safe DFL Safe DFL
51A Sandra Masin Diane Anderson Toss-up Toss-up
51B Laurie Halverson Doug Wardlow Toss-up Toss-up
52A Rick Hansen Joe Blum Safe DFL Safe DFL
52B Joe Atkins Paul Tuschy Likely DFL I’ll call this Lean DFL
53A JoAnn Ward Pam Cunningham Lean DFL This is a Toss-up
53B Ann Marie Metzger Andrea Kieffer Lean GOP I’m calling this one Likely GOP
54A Dan Schoen Derrick Lehrke Likely DFL Likely DFL
54B Joanna Bayers Denny McNamara Lean GOP Lean GOP
55A Chuck Berg Michael Beard Lean GOP Lean GOP
55B Travis Burton Tony Albright Safe GOP Safe GOP
56A Dave Jensen Pam Myhra Likely GOP Likely GOP
56B Will Morgan Roz Peterson Toss-up Toss-up
57A Roberta Gibbons Tara Mack Toss-up Lean GOP
Lean 57B Jeff Wilfart Anna Wills Toss-up Toss-up
58A Colin Lee Mary Liz Holberg Likely GOP Safe GOP
58B Jim Arlt Pat Garofalo Likely GOP Safe GOP
S59A Joe Mullery Cindy Lilly Safe DFL Safe DFL
59B Raymond Dehn Gary Mazzotta Safe DFL Safe DFL
60A Diane Loeffler Brent Millsop Safe DFL Safe DFL
60B Phyllis Kahn Kody Zalewski Safe DFL Safe DFL
61A Frank Hornstein Devin Gawnemark Safe DFL Safe DFL
61B Paul Thissen Nate Atkins Safe DFL Safe DFL
62A Karen Clark Kurtis Hanna Safe DFL Safe DFL
62B Susan Allen Tom Johnson Safe DFL Safe DFL
63A Jim Davnie Kirk Brink Safe DFL Safe DFL
63B Jean Wagenius Matt Ashley Safe DFL Safe DFL
64A Erin Murphy Andrew Ojeda Safe DFL Safe DFL
64B Michael Paymar Brandon Carmack Safe DFL Safe DFL
65A Rena Moran Daniel Lipp Safe DFL Safe DFL, more’s the pity
65B Carlos Mariani Carlos Conway Safe DFL Safe DFL
66A Alice Hausman Mark Fotsch Safe DFL Safe DFL
66B John Lesch Ben Blomgren Safe DFL Safe DFL
67A Tim Mahoney Cathy Hennelly Safe DFL Safe DFL
67B Sheldon Johnson John Quinn Safe DFL Safe DFL

Senate tomorrow!

6 thoughts on “Handicapping The House

  1. I think you’re right on Russ Bertsch’s race in 42A — he almost won last time in the old 50B and the new district is friendlier territory. Russ an excellent candidate and a really good guy, too. Dale Helm in 41A has a shot, I think. In my district (41B) the GOP candidate (Laura Palmer) is going to end up losing badly because of the 3rd party candidate in the race, Tim Utz, who ran as a Republican last time in the old 50A and became disenchanted with the party afterwards. It’s too bad, because Palmer deserves better.

  2. Mitch it would have been nice if you wrote one sentence in the article the predicted outcome just to have some idea what it was. I tried to do a rough count and got roughly 54 seats lean or safe DFL, 56 seats lean or safe GOP, and 22 toss ups (I lost track of two seats on count sheet so lets say 24)

    Could be a long night.

    Correct me if I’m wrong the eight congressional district (which includes the iron range) is like districts 1-7. The fact that I’m seeing any Repubican there is a sign long term for us to keep control of the house since those were seats the DFL used to add up with their Minneapolis and Saint Paul seats.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  3. D: I’m feeling good about a lot of races in CD4.

    Walter: The prediction is coming up on Friday.

  4. FYI, the predictions for 57A and 57B are FAR too conservative. The DFL candidate Wilfarht for 57B isn’t even actively contesting the seat, he’s been on a state-wide gay marriage tour. When he can be bothered with 57B, his default response is “well I was asked to run”. This is AT LEAST lean GOP.

    And as far as 57A, that’s a pretty solid GOP district. The DFL opponents fundraising has been anemic, she has no lawns signs up, and near as we can tell has done no door knocking. There has been no literature mailed by her or on her behalf. You know, all the stuff you do if you want to win….especially as a challenger. This is solid GOP.

  5. Is there a reason for thinking that Sarah Anderson’s race is a toss up? 44A seems like a fairly republican district that only got more red after redistricting (old number 43A). Also, Sarah seems likable.

  6. G,

    No, there is not. As I noted, I ran with Petrangelo’s ratings unless I had a reason that jumped out at me not to. While I think Sarah is going to smother her opponent, for whatever reason I didn’t change my prediction in that race. See above (in a moment or two)

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