Karin Housley on the verge of an upset


Karin Housley has been one of the GOP’s strongest candidates this cycle, and a recent Star Tribune/MPR poll confirms the Senate race in Minnesota has now become the “sleeper” race of the 2018 midterms.

On the morning after Election Day, national operatives on both sides of the aisle will wake up and say “dammit” because of the incredibly small margin that will decide this race. The momentum is on our side, and Republicans have an opportunity to shock the world by winning this seat.

Since the start of her campaign, Karin Housley has consistently outperformed polling, expectations, and the highly partisan political environment to make this race as close as it can possibly get. Housley’s opponent, Tina Smith, has done the opposite and even skipped the only statewide televised debate.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite being outspent 2-1, Housley has closed the gap and made substantial gains against Smith among independents and other key voters.
  • Even with the spending advantage, Tina Smith is still an unknown and unelected incumbent who has failed to poll over 50%, similar to Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester.
  • Housley has raised over $4 million this cycle, ensuring she has the funds to keep this race competitive until the end.
  • In 2008, disgraced Senator Al Franken was also up in the polls at this stage of the race, but Republicans came home, nearly defeating Franken until a fourth recount was issued.
  • Minnesota has become significantly more Republican since 2008, with both the state legislature and congressional delegation becoming more right-leaning over that time.
  • The Housley campaign is poised to close out this cycle very strong. As voters learn more about Tina Smith’s record of self-dealing, they will turn to Housley as their choice for U.S. Senate on Election Day.
  • National polling models continue to shift into Housley’s favor, giving her a better chance to win this election than Beto O’Rourke has in Texas. Conservatives like Newt Gingrich and John Fund are also taking notice.

  • Housley is winning key demographics, which includes a nine-point advantage with independents (42% – 33%) and with suburban voters (49% – 40%).
  • At this stage of the race in 2016, Hillary Clinton had a 10-point advantage in the polls. If the 2016 election taught us anything, it’s that Democrats overestimate Minnesota and Republicans underestimate. Had 2016 been a midterm election, Trump would have won — and Housley is on track to do the same.
  • In the early vote, Republicans are outpacing Democrats by four points, a historical change reflecting Minnesota is under the radar.
  • A recent poll conducted by Change Research puts the race at 46%-43%, further showing Housley’s campaign is closing the gap quickly before the election.