Mar 17, 2023 - Politics

What's ahead for Minnesota's sole remaining battleground House seat

Angie Craig at a microphone looking away

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The suburban Minnesota congressional seat held by DFL U.S. Rep. Angie Craig is again shaping up to be the state's most — and possibly only — competitive congressional district in 2024.

Driving the news: Both the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees included Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District on recent lists of districts that are top priorities for 2024.

State of play: The south metro seat was a major battleground in the 2022 midterms, with some of the most campaign spending in the nation.

  • But Craig more than doubled her margin of victory between 2020 and 2022, from 2 to 5 percentage points. Cook Political Report, the nonpartisan election handicapper, currently rates the race as "likely Democrat."

The intrigue: Craig has yet to attract a serious formal challenger, but several Republicans are considering a run.

  • Tyler Kistner, the GOP's nominee the last two cycles, told Axios he hasn't ruled out a third run. He said he's getting together with his campaign team in the next month to "assess where we were at in 2022, [and] what we would need to do to perform better in 2024."
  • Mike Murphy, a former mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate who currently lives outside the district in the north metro, has filed fundraising paperwork for a run. He told Axios he's still considering his options and plans to make a decision "in the coming days."

What they're saying: 2nd Congressional District Republicans chair Jeff Schuette told Axios that he wasn't aware of any new big names weighing a run at this time.

  • But Schuette views the seat as winnable in 2024 if Republicans can get the messaging right to connect with suburban voters. He said there’s plenty of time for a strong candidate to jump in.

The other side: Craig brushed off suggestions of a tough race ahead.

  • "Bring it on,” she said in a statement to Axios.

Between the lines: Because 2024 is a presidential election year, the match-up at the top of the ticket could shape the competitiveness of down-ballot Minnesota campaigns. But Christopher B. Chapp, a political science professor at St. Olaf College who conducted exit polling on the midterm battle, told Axios that he sees the race as "Craig's to lose," barring a red wave nationwide.

  • "The two times an incumbent is most vulnerable are their first re-election and any election following a redistricting," he said. "Angie Craig has passed both of those tests."

The bottom line: Five years ago, Minnesota was home to at least four battleground U.S. House races. But Demographic and political shifts in both the metro and rural areas, combined with last year's redrawing of district maps, left Minnesota with just one true swing district last year.

  • In 2024, the number of seats seriously in play could be one — or none.

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