Minnesota’s 11th Senate District is a mix of political world views- The north end dominated by Carlton county buts up against Duluth and shares that areas traditional progressive values, especially in regard to labor. The south end is dominated by Kanabec and Pine counties and is an economic no mans land, with marginal farmland and a too long commute to the higher paying jobs in the cities, leaving much of the populace with the sort of inferiority complex that Trump has so well cultivated into votes. For a better backgrounder, check out the range’s best political blogger’s take at his Minnesota Brown blog.
As can be expected in a February special election, turnout was miserable, as was the weather on election day. The usual solution for that electoral dysfunction, mail ballots, was hampered by the Postal Service’s increasing slowness and more winter weather that had Minnesota’s Attorney General asking for more time for special elections. But while only about half of the democratic base voters turned out district wide, in republican leaning Pine county about two thirds of the republican base turned out, pretty much supplying the republican’s thousand or so vote margin of victory.
So while our 2018 “blue wave” made us competitive in this rural district, the white stuff favored the republicans in this special election. We democrats may have been dumped on too by the single issue environmentalists whose candidate lost the primary, perhaps they stayed home in spite. There’s lessons for future elections here- We democrats have to vote regardless of weather and whether or not our preferred democratic candidate made it onto the ballot.