(KMSP) - While the contentious presidential race has received most of the attention, the battle for control of Minnesota’s House of Representatives is also becoming fierce. Control has flipped in each of the past three election cycles, with Republicans currently holding 12 more seats than the Democrats.
Now, some supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign have turned their efforts to helping elect progressives to the state legislature. The group Our Revolution Minnesota is focusing on races on three key races -- all seats currently held by Republicans.
In Apple Valley, Erin Maye Quade is running against Republican Ali Jimenez-Hopper. In Burnsville and Lakeville, Lindsey Port is taking on incumbent Roz Peterson. In St. Cloud, Zachary Dornholt is battling incumbent Jim Knoblach. Knoblach unseated Dornholt in the 2014 election.
Volunteers gathered Sunday in Minneapolis to make calls or travel to the districts to canvass for votes.
“Every single volunteer shift counts when it comes down to this," said Matt Barthelemy, of Our Revolution Minnesota. “That's why exciting to see all these folks come out and door knock.”
Republicans, particularly in swing districts, know they have a fight on their hands.
“We’re a split district, you’ll find we have a Republican legislator on both sides of the district, but we have a DFL senator,” said Jeff Lorsung, Treasurer for the Senate District 57 Republicans. “Obviously, we’re a target based on our changing demographics.”
Both sides say turnout will be key, so voters in swing areas will likely be seeing a lot more of the candidates and their supporters in the weeks to come.