List of political parties in Minnesota
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Brief history and overview
Minnesota has had a history of favoring the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) candidates since the 1960s, especially in presidential elections where it has been seen as a "safe state" for the Democratic Party candidate. However, Minnesota has also had an active Republican Party that has been viewed as gaining more support since the late 1990s and early 2000s due to population migration to the suburbs along with the party's focus on socially conservative positions on gun control, abortion and gay rights, although those gains have largely been reversed in recent years. The DFL won a majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives for the first time since 1996 in the 2006 elections, defeating the Republican majority. Republicans won a majority in both houses of the Minnesota Legislature in the 2010 elections for the first time since 1973 when party designation for state legislators was reinstated, but lost both majorities to the DFL in the 2012 elections. The governorship is held by DFLer Mark Dayton.
Minnesota has one of the strongest levels of support, among the states, for supporting independent and third political party candidates.
Third political parties
The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party was a populist political party that managed to elect some of its candidates to the United States Congress, a rare feat among American third political parties, and eventually merged with the Minnesota Democratic Party in 1944 to create the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party. The success of the Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party shielded Minnesota from the worst of the restrictive ballot access laws that were passed in most states during the Red Scare era of the 1920s to 1950s. State law governing nominating petitions for third party candidates and the definition of a major and minor political party have not prevented the rise of more than two major political parties, and have ensured that several different candidates are on the ballot in most state and federal elections.
In 1998, the Reform Party of Minnesota candidate for Governor, Jesse Ventura, won the election. The Reform Party later became the Independence Party of Minnesota. In 2002, Sheila Kiscaden, who had previously been a Republican, was re-elected as a member of the Independence Party. The Green Party of Minnesota has had electoral success in city elections, particularly Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
Minnesota's political parties
Qualified major political parties
- Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL)
- Republican Party of Minnesota
- Independence Party of Minnesota
Qualified minor political parties
Other minor political parties
- Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party, merged with the Minnesota Democratic Party in 1944 to form the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party.
- Minnesota Progressive Party
In 2005, Minnesota state law regarding the definition of major and minor political parties was changed. The distinction between the two depends on how many candidates the party nominates for certain partisan offices and how well the candidates do in certain partisan elections. Parties that qualify as a major or minor political party are eligible to receive funds from the state elections campaign account. Qualified major political parties also receive other various special privileges.