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Incumbents win area legislative races

Incumbents ruled the day in most area legislative races Tuesday-- with one notable exception.

Republican State Senator Cal Larson was defeated by his DFL challenger, Dan Skogen, receiving just 14,000, or 45 percent of total votes cast in District 10. Skogen received 17,360 votes, or 55 percent.

Sen. Keith Langseth (DFL) received just over 20,350 votes, or 70 percent of all ballots cast in District 9, in his bid for re-election against Republican challenger Paul Holle. Holle received 8,748 votes, or 30 percent.

Incumbent State Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL) faced a slightly closer challenge from Republican Steve Booth in District 2, but still won re-election handily. Skoe received 19,500 votes, or 61 percent of the overall ballots cast, while Booth 12,500, or 39 percent.

In area house races, incumbent Dist. 2A State Rep. Kent Eken (DFL) soundly defeated Republican challenger Patricia Crabb, receiving just over 10,400 votes, or 69 percent of all ballots cast. Crabb received more than 4,600 votes, or 31 percent.

Dist. 9A incumbent Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL) scored an even more decisive victory over Republican challenger Angie Holle, receiving 12,300 votes, or 77 percent of all ballots cast. Holle received 3,670 votes, or 23 percent.

Two local Republicans won.

In Otter Tail County, Dist. 10A Rep. Bud Nornes defeated DFL challenger Mary Jane Westra by a 56-44 percent margin. Nornes received just under 9,000 votes, while Westra received a little less than 7,000.

Dist. 10A Rep. Dean Simpson won handily, 61 percent to 39 percent, over DFL challenger Tim Nieminen. He represents six townships in the Wolf Lake area, as well as a big chunk of Otter Tail County.

In other races of note, Detroit Lakes native Jeff Johnson was unsuccessful in his bid to become the state's first Republican attorney general in a generation. He won the Becker County vote, 50 percent to 45 percent, but lost statewide, earning 41 percent of the vote to DFL opponent Lori Swanson's 53 percent. Independence candidate John James earned 4 percent of the vote, while Green Party candidate Papa John Kolstad took just under 2 percent.

There was an upset in the Secretary of State's office, as DFL challenger Mark Ritchie ousted Republican incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer, 49 percent to 44 percent. Independence candidate Bruce Kennedy took 3.7 percent of the vote.

DFL candidate Rebecca Otto was also successful in ousting incumbent Republican Patricia Anderson as State Auditor, earning 52 percent of the vote to Anderson's 41 percent. Independence Party candidate Lucy Gerald grabbed 4.6 percent of the vote, while Green Party candidate Dave Berger earned 2.3 percent.

DFL'ers Amy Klobuchar and Collin Peterson were also victorious in their quest for national office.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Peterson scored a decisive victory over his Republican challenger Michael J. Barrett, receiving 70 percent of all ballots cast. Barrett earned 29 percent of the overall vote, while Constitution Party candidate Ken Lucier received 1.2 percent.

Klobuchar completed a very successful night for the DFL in Minnesota, as she ultimately won the war of words with Republican adversary Mark Kennedy, taking 58 percent of the vote to Kennedy's 38 percent. Independence candidate Robert Fitzgerald earned 3.2 percent of the vote.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454