Peace and harmony between Dayton and the new Legislature? Uh, no

The governor says leaders in Minnesota's divided government will have to work together. But don't expect them to hold hands and sway.
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Results from Tuesday's election appear to have given Minnesota a legislature that's unified in Republican hands. But with a Democratic governor, the state's divided government will roll on.

As the Pioneer Press reports, in his post-Election Day comments Wednesday Gov. Mark Dayton acknowledged he was taken by surprise when voters expanded the Republican majority in the state House and apparently turned the Senate over to the GOP, as well.

Unofficial returns show Republicans (who had six fewer seats than the DFL this year) taking a 34-33 lead in the Senate. But two of those races were close enough to trigger a recount.

The Associated Press notes no recounts will happen until after Tuesday's results are certified by the state Canvassing Board on Nov. 29.

Minnesota is already familiar with gridlock at the State Capitol, with the DFL leading the Senate and Republicans controlling the House for the past two years.

Will the new arrangement, if it holds up, lead to Dayton using his veto pen to strike down Republican measures? The governor conceded Wednesday that expectations of "peace and harmony" would be unrealistic, MPR News says, but Dayton also said he'll be ready to work with Republican lawmakers.

Minnesota will need a new two-year budget approved by May. The dynamic at the Capitol in the spring will be the same as it was in 2011, when Dayton would not sign the budget approved by a Republican legislature, leading to a 20-day government shutdown.

Dayton says he hopes lawmakers learned something from that episode, the Star Tribune reports. "If they want to repeat that folly and refuse to compromise and force a shutdown, they do so at their peril," he said.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Tuesday's gains by Republicans are tied to voter frustration with soaring costs for health insurance on the individual market, MPR reports. Daudt says his party is ready to make changes in the state's health insurance system but may wait to see what President-elect Donald Trump does at the federal level.

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