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State Republicans mystified over losses to DFL, shift of power

After two short years of a Republican majority, the Minnesota Legislature is back in control of the Democrats, and GOP leaders said Wednesday they are mystified by what happened during Tuesday's general election.
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After two short years of a Republican majority, the Minnesota Legislature is back in control of the Democrats, and GOP leaders said Wednesday they are mystified by what happened during Tuesday's general election, The Forest Lake Times reported.

Anoka Republican Rep. Jim Abeler, a House of 14 years, said, "Nobody saw it coming."

Lakeville Republican Sen. Dave Thompson told the Star Tribune that there was no way to sugarcoat the loss for the GOP, adding, "It was a rough night for Republicans."

After the election, Minnesota for the first time in 22 years will have a DFL governor and DFL control of the House and Senate, the Pioneer Press reported.

Republican House Majority Leader Sen. Kurt Zellers, who stepped down from his post Wednesday, offered some suggestions, MPR reported. He blamed the loss on a number of factors, including heavy spending by Democrats and negative campaigning.

While some state Republicans are at a loss for words about the shift of power, some DFL seem to know exactly what happened.

The political website Politics in Minnesota quoted DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk at a victory celebration in Minneapolis, who said, "They didn't lose because they are Republicans; they lost because they are wrong."

The GOP also suffered losses with the defeat of the voter ID and marriage amendments, and on the national level, the unseating of U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack by former Democratic Sen. Rick Nolan, reported the Pioneer Press.

And while U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann narrowly retained her House seat, the victory was tempered by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar's lop-sided victory over GOP state Rep. Kurt Bills.

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