Gov. Tim Walz formally sought re-election with Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan on Thursday morning.
“Four years later…are you still ready?” the governor told Flanagan just before signing official documents at the secretary of state’s office. “I’m always ready, let’s go!” she replied.
As incumbents, they will be considered early favorites, but in a volatile midterm election cycle with issues such as abortion, gun control, inflation and gas prices joining COVID-19 and public safety as major issues, the race could be difficult to predict. Add to that the budget impasse between the governor and the legislature and things become even more unpredictable.
“I’m really frustrated with people who I think intentionally think that blowing this up is good for Minnesota,” Walz told reporters after seeking re-election. “We had a universal agreement which is fantastic for Minnesota.”
Just hours after Walz filed his candidacy, dozens of Republican candidates likely to win a majority in the Minnesota House did the same. They only need to flip four DFL seats to win a majority.
“In this group, we have veterans, police officers, we have business leaders, we have teachers, school board members and other community leaders, we have moms and dads,” said the Minority Leader Kurt Daudt. standing in front of the group on the steps of the State Office Building.
Although Democrats hope voters will toe the line with them on abortion and gun control, Republicans say they are hearing about other issues.
“We hear every day from constituents in our districts talking about high gas prices, inflation, making sure they have a say in what happens in their schools and the education of their children,” Daudt said.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate while Democrats cling to a slim majority in the House. The wildcard this year is that nearly 50 lawmakers — about a quarter of the 201 lawmakers — are unlikely to return. Thirty-seven lawmakers are retiring while eight others seek other positions outside the legislature. Twelve other lawmakers are seeking different seats in the legislature.
With so much turnover, Walz says, don’t count on Democrats retaining the majority in the House.
“I think House Democrats are going to do well under the leadership of Speaker (Melissa) Hortman,” Walz said. “She’s one of the most effective and really bipartisan trying to get deals done, negotiators that we’ve seen here, so I’m still hopeful and there’s plenty of time to go until then.”
Candidates have until Tuesday, June 1 to submit their application.