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Bruising battle rages for control of Legislature

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The war for political control of the Minnesota Legislature has gotten far less media attention than higher-profile races for president and congressional seats and the battle over two controversial ballot measures in the state. But Democrats are in a fierce fight to retake control of the Statehouse, which they lost two years ago, MPR reports.

All 201 legislative seats are in play. Republicans have a 37-29 edge in the Senate, with one DFL seat vacant. In the House, the GOP has a 72-61 advantage, with one vacant DFL seat.

MinnPost says the DFL appears poised to retake the Senate, although most believe Republicans will hold a slight majority in the House.

MPR's Tom Scheck breaks down some of the key races in an interactive map.

The races are attracting surprisingly little attention given their direct impact to people's lives, observers note. State lawmakers set tax rates, determine classroom sizes and establish health insurance policy. "The Minnesota state legislative races are the most consequential, uncovered political event in the state this year," the University of Minnesota's Larry Jacobs told the Pioneer Press. The newspaper delves more into what's at stake and briefly profiles nine races that could swing control of the Legislature.

Among the key issues in the races have been taxes, the state budget, and who was really at fault for the government shutdown in July 2011, the Star Tribune reported.

Among the battles being fought in the trenches is one in Eagan's District 51B, where the DFL's Laurie Halverson is challenging Republican Rep. Doug Wardlow, Patch reports.

In southeastern Minnesota, hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on legislative races by political parties and third-party groups, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

The DFL Party had a clear cash advantage over the Republican Party of Minnesota in the battle for control of the Legislature, MPR reported. The Dems raised $8.2 million to the GOP's $1.1 million. The DFL had $1.1 million to spend in the final week before Election Day, compared to the $3,100 Republicans had to spend.

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