Minnesota Republicans are trying to regroup after losing control of the state legislature in November, and are planning to draw some sharp differences with Democrats as the new legislative session begins on Tuesday.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune
, GOP leaders still believe the state is divided politically, with plenty of voters who believe as they do on a wide range of issues ranging from budget and tax matters to gun control issues.
With a number of controversial issues, such as gay marriage, tax policy, and Obamacare requirements still on the legislative agenda this year, Republican lawmakers will have lots of opportunities to test their appeal among voters.
"We like the opportunities that we're going to have to point out the differences," incoming House Republican leader Kurt Daudt told the Star Tribune. "We think you're going to see stark contrasts between what liberal Democrats believe and what conservatives believe."
Incoming state Senate Minority Leader David Hann agreed, telling the newspaper that while Republicans lost the legislature in November, "philosophically, we don't think our ideas are wrong." He said the state GOP just has to do "a better job of communicating those ideas."
For Republicans that includes fighting efforts in the state to redefine the traditional definition of marriage and efforts by Democrats to allow early voting as many other states do. Both issues may have played a role, according the Star Tribune, in Republicans losing control of the legislature.
As it turned out, voters in November rejected amendments imposing tougher voter identification requirements and banning same-sex marriage in the state at the same time they handed the state House and Senate back to the Democrats.
Hann told the newspaper that while voters declined to put a gay marriage prohibition in the state Constitution, "I don't know that you can say, well, based on that, we should change the meaning of marriage."
And Daudt noted that Republicans still plan to oppose a Democratic proposal to allow early voting because "it allows [Democrats] to turn their get-out-the-vote machine on two weeks earlier" than Election Day.
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