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United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, 2008


United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, 2008

Map of Minnesota showing all eight districts

The 2008 Minnesota U.S. House of Representatives elections took place on November 4, 2008. All 8 congressional seats that make up the state's delegation were contested. Representatives are elected for two-year terms; those elected will serve in the 111th United States Congress from January 4, 2009 until January 3, 2011.

The 2008 Presidential election, 2008 Senate election (for the seat held by Republican Norm Coleman), and 2008 Minnesota Legislature elections occurred on the same date, as well as many local elections and ballot initiatives.

The 110th congressional delegation from the U.S. state of Minnesota has 3 Republicans and 5 Democratic Farmer Labor Party members (DFLers). Six are men; 2 are women. Three were freshman in the 110th congress. The veterans range in experience from Jim Oberstar with 32 years of experience and the chairman of the Transportation Committee to John Kline with just four years of experience.


United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, 2008[1]
Party Votes Percentage Seats +/–
Democratic 1,612,480 57.53% 5
Republican 1,069,015 38.14% 3
Independents 121,119 4.32% 0
Totals 2,802,614 100.00% 8

District 1

This district extends across southern Minnesota from the border with South Dakota to the border of Wisconsin. DFLer Tim Walz defeated 6-term veteran Republican Gil Gutknecht in 2006 in somewhat of a surprise victory. Walz had no opponent in the race for the DFL nomination for the seat in the September 12, 2006 primary election. He beat incumbent Republican Gil Gutknecht in the general election by a margin of 53% to 47%. The popular Walz is a former teacher and Command Sergeant Major in the National Guard.[2] The district is rated as an R+1 on the CPVI scale.[3] Incumbent Tim Walz was opposed by Brian Davis, a Mayo Clinic physician, who was endorsed by the CD1 Republican Party and Independence Party of Minnesota candidate, Greg Mikkelson. CQ Politics forecast the race as 'Leans Democratic'. Walz won the 2008 race, garnering 62.5% of the vote.[4]

Minnesota's 1st congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Tim Walz (inc.) 207,753 62.50%
Republican Brian J. Davis 109,453 32.93%
Independence Gregory Mikkelson 14,904 4.48%
Write-ins 290 0.09%
Totals 332,400 100.00%
Democratic hold

District 2

This district spans the width of the entire southern Bush and the Iraq War did not make him too vulnerable to a challenger in 2008.[5] On October 4, 2007, Iraq War veteran Steve Sarvi announced he would challenge Kline for the seat. His experience also includes being mayor of Watertown, Minnesota and city administrator for Victoria, Minnesota. He believed that a change in U.S. policy in Iraq was needed.[6] On May 3, Sarvi was endorsed by the 2nd District DFL party.[7] Sarvi was also endorsed by the Independence Party of Minnesota. CQ Politics forecast the race as 'Republican Favored'. Kline won the 2008 race, garnering 57.3% of the vote.[4]

Minnesota's 2nd congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kline (inc.) 220,924 57.29%
DFL Steve Sarvi 164,093 42.55%
Write-ins 639 0.17%
Totals 385,656 100.00%
Republican hold

District 3

This district encompasses the suburbs of Hennepin County to the north, west, and south of Minneapolis. Republican 9-term incumbent Jim Ramstad announced on September 17, 2007 that he would not seek reelection in 2008.[8] Erik Paulsen, a Republican who was the majority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives when the Republicans held a majority was opposed by DFLer, Ashwin Madia who is an Iraq War veteran.[9] David Dillon of the Independence Party of Minnesota (campaign website) and Harley Swarm of the Constitution Party (campaign website) also competed.[10] The district is rated as an R+1 on the CPVI scale,[3] indicating a district that could swing toward either party. CQ Politics forecast the race as 'No Clear Favorite'. Paulsen won the 2008 race, garnering 48.5% of the vote.[4]

Minnesota's 3rd congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Erik Paulsen 178,932 48.48%
DFL Ashwin Madia 150,787 40.85%
Independence David Dillon 38,970 10.56%
Write-ins 415 0.11%
Totals 369,104 100.00%
Republican hold

District 4

This district covers most of Ramsey County including all of Saint Paul and several Saint Paul suburbs. It is held by the solidly progressive 4-term DFLer, Betty McCollum. The district is rated a secure D+13 on the CPVI scale,[3] posing a formidable barrier to any potential Republican challengers. Ed Matthews, an attorney, was the Republican candidate. CQ Politics forecast the race as 'Safe Democratic'. McCollum won the 2008 race, garnering 68.4% of the vote.[4]

Minnesota's 4th congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Betty McCollum (inc.) 216,267 68.44%
Republican Ed Matthews 98,936 31.31%
Write-ins 815 0.26%
Totals 316,018 100.00%
Democratic hold

District 5

This district covers eastern Hennepin County, including the entire city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with parts of Anoka and Ramsey counties. With the 2007 retirement of Martin Sabo, the opportunity presented itself for Keith Ellison to compete for Sabo's seat against several aspirants. He is the first African American U.S. Representative from Minnesota and the first Muslim member of the U.S. Congress. Like McCollum, Ellison is also a solidly progressive legislator, which is in keeping with the district, rating D+21 on the CPVI scale.[3] He was challenged by Republican Barb Davis White, a minister, author, and civil rights activist.[11] The Independence Party of Minnesota candidate was Bill McGaughey. CQ Politics forecast the race as 'Safe Democratic'.

Minnesota's 5th congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Keith Ellison (inc.) 228,776 70.88%
Republican Barb Davis White 71,020 22.00%
Independence Bill McGaughey 22,318 6.92%
Write-ins 633 0.20%
Totals 322,747 100.00%
Democratic hold

District 6

This district includes most or all of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, Wright, Anoka, and Washington counties. First-term Republican Michele Bachmann won a hard-fought battle against Patty Wetterling in 2006, with the help of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney campaigning on her behalf[12] and a multi-million dollar warchest.[13] With a CPVI of R+5,[3] the district posed an uphill battle for the DFL challenger, former state transportation commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg (DFL).[14] On April 26, 2008, the 6th District DFL endorsed Tinklenberg for this race, as did the Independence Party of Minnesota although Bob Anderson was running as an INDC candidate.

Bachmann's charges about "anti-American views" shifted the political dynamics of this campaign, giving a lift to Tinklenberg's candidacy and attracting $1.3 million in new contributions, plus $1 million from the DNC. At the same time the RNC withdrew media buys on behalf of Bachmann.[15] CQ Politics changed its forecast from 'Republican Favored' to 'Leans Republican' on October 20, and then to 'No Clear Favorite' on October 28. The Cook Political Report then rated it as 'Republican Toss Up'.[16] Despite the controversy, Bachmann won the 2008 race, garnering 46.4% of the vote to Tinklenberg's 43.4% and Anderson's 10%.[4]


Source Date Tinklenberg (D) Bachmann (R) Anderson (I)
Minnesota Public Radio October 24, 2008 45% 43% 5%
SurveyUSA October 24, 2008 47% 44% 6%
SurveyUSA October 10, 2008 38% 42% 5%
Minnesota's 6th congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Michele Bachmann (inc.) 187,817 46.41%
DFL El Tinklenberg 175,786 43.43%
Independence Bob Anderson 40,643 10.04%
Write-ins 479 0.12%
Totals 404,725 100.00%
Republican hold

District 7

This district covers almost all of the western side of Minnesota from the Canadian border down to Lincoln County and is the largest district in the state. As chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, 9-term DFLer Collin Peterson is at home in his mostly-agricultural district. Although the district leans Republican with a CPVI of R+6,[3] Peterson's social conservatism and farmer/labor DFL values serve him well in his district. He won with 70% of the vote in 2006. Republican Glen Menze challenged Peterson. CQ Politics forecast the race as 'Safe Democratic'.

Minnesota's 7th congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Collin Peterson (inc.) 227,187 72.20%
Republican Glen Menze 87,062 27.67%
Write-ins 431 0.14%
Totals 314,680 100.00%
Democratic hold

District 8

This district covers the northeastern part of Minnesota and includes Duluth, Hibbing, and the Mesabi Range. Seventeen-term veteran DFLer, Jim Oberstar is Minnesota's senior representative. In 2006, former Republican U.S. Senator Rod Grams challenged Oberstar, garnering 34% of the vote. In 2008, 74-year-old Oberstar maintained his popularity among his constituency. The district leans Democratic with a CPVI of D+4[3] owing to the loyalty of miners, loggers, and farmers to the DFL. Republican, Michael Cummins ran against Oberstar. On May 3, 2008, the 8th District DFL endorsed Oberstar for another term. CQ Politics forecast the race as 'Safe Democratic'.

Minnesota's 8th congressional district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Jim Oberstar (inc.) 241,831 67.69%
Republican Michael Cummins 114,871 32.15%
Write-ins 582 0.16%
Totals 357,284 100.00%
Democratic hold

See also

United States Senate elections, 2008


  1. ^
  2. ^ Felker, Ed (2007-01-05). "Walz pledges new direction in capital". Post-Bulletin Company, LLC. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". The Campaign Legal Center. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Election results: Minnesota: U.S. House". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  5. ^ "Rep. Kline agrees with Iraq assessment". Minnesota Public Radio. 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  6. ^ "Iraq war vet to challenge Kline in Minnesota's 2nd District". Minnesota Public Radio. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  7. ^ accessdate = 2008-05-04 "DFL Party Congratulates Steve Sarvi on MN-2 Endorsement". Mn DFL Party. 2008-05-03. 
  8. ^ Fred Frommer, Fred (2007-09-17). "Ramstad announces his retirement from Congress". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  9. ^ "Democrat Bonoff to run for Congress in 3rd District". Minnesota Public Radio. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  10. ^ "Constitution Party Endorses Candidate". 
  11. ^ "Barb Davis White for Congress". Archived from the original on 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  12. ^ Anderson, Jr., G.R. (October 4, 2006). "The Chosen One". City Pages 27 (1348) (City Pages (Minneapolis)). 
  13. ^ "Bachmann retains 6th District seat for GOP". Minnesota Public Radio. 2006-11-08. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  14. ^ "Candidates lining up in the 6th, 3rd Congressional Districts". Minnesota Public Radio. 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  15. ^ Lien, Dennis; Rachel E. Stassen-Berger (2008-10-22). "National GOP committee pulls money from Bachmann". Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  16. ^ 2008 Competitive House Race Chart The Cook Political Report, October 20, 2008

External links

  • Election Center from the Minnesota Secretary of State
  • Minnesota U.S. House Races from 2008 Race Tracker
  • Campaign contributions for Minnesota congressional races from
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