Will a bipartisan ship sail to Minnesota's Capitol?


Talk of bipartisanship permeated Minnesota's Capitol on the day after Election Day. But leaders in both the DFL and Republican camps suggested it's up to their rivals to determine how long the spirit of cooperation will last.

Tuesday's election converted 11 seats in the Minnesota House from DFL to Republican hands. That means the GOP will hold a 72-62 majority in the chamber when lawmakers reconvene in St. Paul, MPR News reports.

Voters also re-elected Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the state Senate remains in DFL control, so Minnesota faces a return to divided government in January.

Governor says he's open to conciliation

The Star Tribune reports Dayton said Wednesday he'll be "as conciliatory as possible" in working with House Republicans.

Dayton acknowledged the divided government is "a prescription for gridlock unless we rise above it," the Star Tribune says, but the governor added it remains to seen whether the GOP will "assume the mantle of leadership" or "jam everything up."

Looking ahead to what will unfold on the floor of the Capitol, he remarked: "It takes two to tango. You can't dance alone," the Associated Press reports.

Republicans, too

Meanwhile, House Republicans offered similar assurances that they stand ready to cooperate ... and that the onus for accomplishing bipartisan results may lie across the aisle.

According to MPR, Republican Kurt Daudt of Crown, who's been the House minority leader, said: "We want to roll up our sleeves and get to work for Minnesotans on the problems that they care about. If Democrats are on the same page, we're going to do just fine."

What issues are on that page?

Finding a funding source to cover a backlog of needed repairs to roads and bridges is one. Daudt says changing MNsure, the state's year-old health insurance exchange, is another.

Dayton championed the development of MNsure. MinnPost reports he offered some backhanded appreciation for the Republican eagerness to revisit it by saying "I hope the Republicans … who’ve just been throwing rocks at it the past year will decide to step in and offer constructive ways to improve it."

The Pioneer Press notes this was the third straight election in which control of the Minnesota House has changed parties. Most of the seats that flipped to Republicans Tuesday are in districts outside the Twin Cities area. Daudt suggested that reflects a tendency by the DFL-controlled Legislature to favor the metro area at the expense of rural districts.

House Republicans will gather on Friday, MPR News says, to elect their new speaker and majority leader.

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