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1980 Minnesota House of Representatives election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1980 Minnesota House of Representatives election

← 1978 November 4, 1980 (1980-11-04) 1982 →

All 134 seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives
68 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Leader Irv Anderson Rod Searle
Party Democratic (DFL) Ind.-Republican
Leader since 1978 1978
Leader's seat 3A–International Falls 30B–Waseca
Last election 67 seats 67 seats
Seats before 68 66
Seats won 70 64
Seat change Increase2 Decrease2
Popular vote 900,218 924,863

Speaker before election

Fred Norton
Democratic (DFL)

Elected Speaker

Harry Sieben
Democratic (DFL)

The 1980 Minnesota House of Representatives election was held in the U.S. state of Minnesota on November 4, 1980, to elect members to the House of Representatives of the 72nd Minnesota Legislature. A primary election was held on September 9, 1980.

The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) won a majority of seats, remaining the majority party, followed by the Independent-Republicans of Minnesota. The new Legislature convened on January 6, 1981.


The last election resulted in the DFL and Independent-Republicans winning an equal number of seats. Under an agreement reached between the two parties, the Republicans would be given the speakership, the chairs of the divisions of the appropriations and tax committees, and a one-vote majority on the divisions of the tax committee. The DFL would be given the chairs and a one-vote majority on the rules and tax committees as well as the chair of the appropriations committee.[1] The chairs and membership of the remaining committees would be equally divided.[2]

This arrangement would last until the end of the legislative session in May 1979, when the DFL obtained a majority after the House removed Republican member Bob Pavlak from office on a straight party-line vote, declaring that he violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act and therefore was not legally elected.[3] Pavlak was legally barred from voting on matters relating to his contested election, allowing the motion to remove him to pass. Pavlak ran in the resulting special election for his former seat held on June 19, 1979, losing to DFL candidate Frank Rodriguez.[4]

After obtaining a majority, the DFL caucus voted to support caucus leader Irv Anderson to be speaker. However, some DFL members who felt were punished by Anderson "for prior policy disagreements or for personal reasons by denying them the committee positions in 1979 that they had expected by virtue of experience and geography" were opposed to electing him speaker.[5] A group of 26 DFL members, led by Gordon Voss and Fred Norton, formed a coalition with the Republicans, electing Norton speaker in 1980.[2]


Summary of the November 4, 1980 Minnesota House of Representatives election results
Party Candidates Votes Seats
No. No. %
Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party 122 900,218 70 Increase2 52.24
Independent-Republicans of Minnesota 121 924,863 64 Decrease2 47.76
Independent 5 11,344 0 Steady 0.00
Write-in 1 1,841 0 Steady 0.00
Total 134 ±0 100.00
Turnout (out of 2,882,406 eligible voters)[6] 2,079,411 72.14% Increase14.19 pp
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State,[7] Minnesota Legislative Reference Library[8]


Although Irv Anderson was the leader of the DFL caucus, DFL representative Harry Sieben sought the support of the DFL caucus to be speaker. Believing that Anderson would have trouble leading a divided caucus following the election of Fred Norton as speaker, Sieben convinced Anderson to support him. Sieben and Norton tied on the first ballot, each receiving 35 votes. After two more ballots, Sieben won the unanimous support of the caucus.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Searle, Sr., Rodney Newell "Rod"". Legislators Past & Present. Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Hanson 1989, p. 72.
  3. ^ "Minn. H.J., 71st Leg., Reg. Sess. pp. 2577–78 (1979)" (PDF). Journal of the House. Minnesota House of Representatives. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  4. ^ "Minnesota Legislative Manual 1979–1980" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. p. 2. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Hanson 1989, p. 62.
  6. ^ "Minnesota election statistics 1950-2014" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved August 13, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Minnesota Election Results 1980" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. pp. 8–103. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  8. ^ "Party Control of the Minnesota House of Representatives, 1951-present". Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  9. ^ Hanson 1989, p. 73.


This page was last edited on 8 August 2020, at 19:46
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