The new Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Paul Thissen
by Tony Petrangelo
Dec 11, 2012, 7:00 AM

Marriage Equality in 2013: The In-between Representatives

[Updated: The original version of this post contained erroneous information about Representative-elect Roger Erickson’s voting record. As an incoming representative, he has no voting record on the amendment in question.]

I started this series of posts, this post being the third in a series, with a post that introduced the series and discussed its purpose. Generally that’s what you do with posts introducing a series of posts.

In that post which introduced this series of posts, I wrote the following:

Let’s assume that DFLers representing districts that voted against the amendment will likely vote for Marriage equality. And let’s also assume that Republicans representing districts that voted for the amendment will likely vote against equality.

If we assume these two things, than there are 18 Senators and 39 Representatives who could go either way. These are the in-betweeners.

In the Senate there are 29 DFLers who represent districts that voted against the amendment and it takes 34 votes in the Senate for a majority. That means five of the 18 in-betweeners in the Senate would need to decide in favor of equality.

In the second post of the series, I went over who those 18 in-between Senators are. The conclusion I came to in that post was that while there are eight Republicans elected from districts that voted against the marriage amendment, it’s unlikely that any of them would actually vote for marriage quality.

And this means that if Marriage equality is to happen this session, as it concerns the Senate at least, the votes will likely have to come entirely from the DFL.

This post looks at the members of the house who are in the same predicament. To crib again from that first post:

In the House there are 55 DFLers who represent districts that voted against the amendment. It takes 68 votes in the House for a majority. That means 13 of the 39 in-betweeners in the House would need to decide in favor of equality.

The basic numbers break down as follows; 81% of the votes needed in the house are DFLers who represent districts that voted against the Marriage amendment. In the Senate that number was 85%.  In the House the 13 votes needed in addition to that 81%, represents 33% of the in-between representatives. In the Senate the five votes needed represented 28% of the in-between Senators.

Just going on these numbers you see that the task of wrangling votes in the house will be more difficult than that same task in the Senate. But the whole point of this series to actually look at who these in-betweeners are, so let’s do that, starting with the DFLers.

HD Representative N-Y D-R Margin Info
40A Michael Nelson -2% 100% 98% Voted Against
06A Carly Melin -6% 42% 36% Voted Against
11A Mike Sundin -5% 36% 31% Freshman
03A David Dill -3% 34% 31% Absent
06B Jason Metsa -7% 37% 30% Freshman
27B Jeanne Poppe -16% 26% 10% Voted Against
04B Paul Marquart -21% 31% 10% Voted Against
05A John Persell -5% 12% 7% Voted Against
10A John Ward -16% 14% -2% Voted Against
24B Patti Fritz -17% 14% -3% Voted Against
05B Tom Anzelc -16% 7% -9% Voted Against
02A Roger Erickson -21% 9% -12% Freshman
27A Shannon Savick -22% 3% -19% Freshman
17B Mary Sawatzky -24% 5% -19% Freshman
11B Tim Faust -27% 3% -24% Freshman
17A Andrew Falk -33% 8% -25% Voted Against
10B Joe Radinovich -27% 1% -26% Freshman
12A Jay McNamar -29% 1% -28% Freshman

This list of House DFLers is not really as promising as the list of Senate DFLers. The first five names on the list will have a free hand, from an electoral perspective, to vote how they wish. Michael Nelson (unopposed), Carly Melin, Mike Sundin, David Dill and Jason Metsa all won election handily and their districts didn’t vote for the amendment by that large of margins.

There is a red flag in that list though and that’s David Dill’s absent vote when the actual amendment came up in the legislature. An unwillingness to vote against the amendment probably indicates an unwillingness to vote for Marriage equality.

Beyond that there is a group of six returning incumbents, who could be put into two subgroups. The first subgroup of three incumbents; Jeanne Poppe, Paul Marquart and John Persell have a bit of electoral margin to spare. The second subgroup;  John Ward, Patti Fritz and Tom Anzelc are a bit underwater in this respect. With the exception of Persell’s 5A, the other five districts all voted in favor of the amendment by rather healthy margins.

After that it gets tough.

Rep. Andrew Falk voted against the amendment and won election by a healthy enough margin, but his district voted for the amendment by a larger margin than anyone other DFLer on this list.

Let’s now take a gander at the Republican list:

HD Representative N-Y D-R Margin Info
44A Sarah Anderson 18% -3% 15% Voted For
33B Cindy Pugh 17% -9% 8% Freshman
39B Kathy Lohmer 11% -6% 5% Author
57B Anna Wills 11% -7% 4% Freshman
38B Matt Dean 8% -5% 3% Author
53B Andrea Kieffer 13% -10% 3% Voted For
57A Tara Mack 10% -7% 3% Voted For
36A Mark Uglem 4% -2% 2% Freshman
34B Kurt Zellers 10% -9% 1% Author
48B Jenifer Loon 18% -18% 0% Voted For
56A Pam Myhra 8% -8% 0% Voted For
55A Michael Beard 6% -9% -3% Voted For
37B Tim Sanders 2% -8% -6% Voted For
14A Steve Gottwalt 1% -8% -7% Author
54B Denny McNamara 4% -15% -11% Voted For
39A Bob Dettmer 3% -15% -12% Author
38A Linda Runbeck 1% -16% -15% Voted For
58A Mary Liz Holberg 2% -18% -16% Voted For
33A Jerry Hertaus 1% -24% -23% Freshman
34A Joyce Peppin 2% -29% -27% Voted For
47B Joe Hoppe 8% -100% -92% Voted For

Like on the Senate side, while there are a number of Republicans in districts that voted against the amendment, there are not many, if any, actual Republicans representing these districts who will be voting for Marriage equality.

At the top of the list, Sarah Anderson voted for the amendment. Cindy Pugh states clearly on her campaign website that she would have voted for the amendment and thinks that marriage is between one man and one woman. Kathy Lohmer was a co-author of the amendment bill in the house.

Beyond that the only two who seem possible are a couple of freshmen; Mark Uglem and Anna Wills. I find it doubtful that a freshman Republican would be the deciding vote on this issue, risking the wrath of both their party and their parties primary electorate.

Assuming that Marriage equality will need all DFL votes to pass in both chambers (in addition to the myriad other assumptions already being made in this analysis), than the situation in the House looks ugly.

If you compare this list to the one on the Senate side it looks even more ugly. The Senate has 10 DFLers who are in districts that voted for the amendment and would need five of them for a majority (50%, natch).

On the House side there are 18 DFLers who’s districts voted for the amendment and 13 of them (72%) would have to vote for equality to achieve a majority. Not only that, of those 18 DFLers, 7 (39%) are freshmen. In the Senate only two of the ten are freshmen.

With part three concluded there’s a lot still to wrap up on this topic. And in part four of this series I will do just that.

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