Election recap: Minnesota stays blue, Norton makes history
Minnesota stayed firmly blue with key wins in statewide races for governor, attorney general and U.S. Senate. In the campaign for governor, DFLer Tim Walz, who has represented southern Minnesota in Congress since 2007, beat out Republican Jeff Johnson by more than 10 percentage points. Democrats were also able to take control of the state House of Representatives.
However, in our area, Republican Jim Hagedorn was able to squeak out a narrow victory to replace Walz. Hagedorn, who lost to Walz by less than a point in 2016, turned the tables and defeated his Democratic opponent, Dan Feehan, by a margin of just half a percent. It had been one of the most closely-watched congressional races in the country. Hagedorn will serve in a House of Representatives that swung in favor of Democrats on Tuesday.
Rochester elected its first-ever female mayor. Kim Norton, a former state lawmaker who helped lead the effort to pass Destination Medical Center legislation, easily defeated security specialist Charlie O’Connell. Norton will likely take a more hands-on approach to the position, which has been held by Ardell Brede for 16 years. Brede is retiring at the end of 2018.
Two Rochester City Council races were decided by razor-thin margins. In Ward 1 — where more than 8,300 ballots were cast — Patrick Keane bested Heather Holmes by 44 votes. Over on the northeast side of town, the difference between winner Shaun Palmer and his opponent, Judy Hickey, was just 60 votes. Since both races were decided by more than a half-percentage point, neither is eligible for a publicly-funded recount.
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