1954 Election Cycle
The DFL had its best cycle to date led by Minneapolis attorney and former party chair Orville Freeman unseating Governor C. Elmer Anderson, marking the first time a Democrat held the office since Winfield Hammond died in office in December 1915. DFL also flipped five other major offices: former party chair Karl Rolvaag won the open seat for Lieutenant Governor, Joseph Donovan unseated Secretary of State Virginia Holm, Miles Lord won the open seat for Attorney General, Arthur Hansen won the open seat for Treasurer, and milkman Frank Larkin defeated Clerk of the Supreme Court Grace Kaercher Davis. [Larkin's shocking primary and general election wins spurred the legislature to put forth a constitutional amendment making this office appointed. The amendment was passed on the November 6, 1956 ballot.] Hjalmar Petersen won the DFL nomination from Railroad and Warehouse Commissioner Clifford Peterson en route to a general election victory. The lone Republican victor was Auditor Stafford King who narrowly won reelection to a seventh term.
Hubert Humphrey defeated Republican Auditor Val Bjornson by double digits to win a second term in the U.S. Senate. The DFL won five of nine U.S. House elections with Coya Knutson unseating six-term Republican Harold Hagen in the 9th CD. Knutson was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Minnesota history.
Appointed Chief Justice Roger Dell and appointed Associate Justice Martin Nelson were each elected back to the Supreme Court and Associate Justices Oscar Knutson and Frank Gallagher were each reelected to a third term.