Democrats take Minn. Legislature in election hat trick

Democrats take Minn. Legislature in election hat trick

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Election Day brought three big victories to Democrats in Minnesota, who took back control of the state House and Senate for the first time in more than two decades on the same night the state renewed its support of President Barack Obama at the polls.

It's been 22 years since Democrats controlled both the Legislature and the governor's office, and many Minnesotans are hoping the switch signals the end of the gridlock that led to the state government shutdown.

Now, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has a whole new posse of deputies, with a 12-seat majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives and an 11-seat advantage in the Minnesota Senate. Those margins clear the way for Democrats to push through a new agenda that outgoing Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers already fears.

"If you're a business owner in the state of Minnesota, I'd get ready for a pretty sizeable tax increase," he said.

Yet, Dayton says that's not true, insisting that the revenue forecasts will dictate tax and budget discussions made by the Democrat-dominated Congress.

However, coming off of an election that even Republicans admit may have been influenced by the marriage amendment, Democratic leaders are already cautioning that social issues will not be their top priority.

"Our first and foremost job is to balance the budget and to balance it in a structurally sound way, which we haven't done," said Rep. Paul Thissen, House Minority Leader.

Even so, at least one Democratic senator -- Sen. John Marty, of Roseville -- says he thinks same-sex marriage is back on the table, and he may introduce a bill in favor of legalizing it in the state.

Leaders in the DFL party, however, told FOX 9 News they were elected to end the budget gridlock and find a reasonable solution. Lawmakers say they plan to focus on that goal, and insist that all options will be considered.

One other change at the Capital was announced on Wednesday. Zellers announced he will not run for a leadership post in the new Legislature.

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