One vote wonder - Franson ahead of Cunniff in House District 8BOne vote separates victory from defeat for Representaive Mary Franson or Bob Cunniff in House District 8B. Senate Districts 8 and 12, House Districts 12A and 12B and the Minnesota Constitutional amendments are also recapped in this article.
By: Crystal Dey, Alexandria Echo Press
Red reigned in the local Minnesota House of Representative and state Senate districts this year.
All but one race, House District 8B, was dominated by Republican candidates in Douglas County. Republican Mary Franson of Alexandria also appears to have won that race – by one vote.
An automatic recount will be conducted to confirm Franson’s overall victory in District 8B.
HOUSE DISTRICT 8B
The one won by one. Probably the most shocking result to come out of Douglas County was Franson’s one vote win over DFLer Bob Cunniff of Alexandria.
“This is a great civic lesson in that every vote counts,” Cunniff said.
Late in the evening, Cunniff was down by as many as 750 votes but said he was still hopeful because the city of Alexandria had not yet reported results.
District-wide, Franson carried 10,652 votes. Cunniff created a blue streak on Douglas County’s red canvas taking 6,861, 53.9 percent, of 13,262 votes in the county.
Coincidentally, Franson beat Cunniff in Alexandria Township 800 to 799, and in Nelson the candidates were at an even 50-vote tie. Aside from the tie in Nelson, Cunniff carried 11 of 17 precincts in Douglas County.
Because the difference between the total numbers of votes falls within a half-percent margin, a recount is mandatory. After the state canvassing board meets on November 27, a recount will be conducted to determine who will be representing the district.
“In the meantime, it’s a waiting game,” Cunniff said. “I am confident that the recount will go well and I will be able to serve my district.”
District 8B includes Douglas and Otter Tail counties.
Attempts to contact Representative Franson were not successful.
HOUSE DISTRICT 12A
DFL candidate Jay McNamar won House District 12A with 10,092 votes.
McNamar beat Republican Scott Dutcher (9,837) and Independence candidate Dave Holman (1,305).
County-wide the victor was Dutcher with 54.25 percent of the votes. Dutcher claimed nine of the 12 Douglas County precincts. McNamar won over three, beating Dutcher by just one vote in Kensington.
District 12A includes Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties.
HOUSE DISTRICT 12B
Republican Paul Anderson won re-election to House District 12B with nearly twice the votes against DFLer Rick Rosenfield.
“I’d like to thank the voters of District 12B for their support in the election,” Anderson said.
Anderson was relieved that the election was over and that the work of campaigning had paid off. He said he spent a considerable amount of time getting to know constituents in Douglas County.
Looking ahead, Anderson plans to work on streamlining Minnesota’s property tax system, increase funding for nursing homes and equalize education funding for rural schools.
“It is my hope that the work done during the last biennium, such as streamlining the permitting process in Minnesota, will not be un-done in the upcoming session,” Anderson said.
District-wide, Anderson received 13,039 votes versus Rosenfield’s 6,609. In Douglas County, Anderson received 60.22 percent of 4,778 total votes. Rosenfield carried one of the eight precincts in Douglas County, Garfield.
District 12B includes Douglas, Pope and Stearns counties.
SENATE DISTRICT 8
Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen won the district and the county in Senate District 8.
Ingebrigtsen said he is very pleased with the outcome. He gained 58 new townships with the redistricting; eight of which are in Douglas County. Ingebrigtsen is looking forward to serving Douglas County and his new territory in Otter Tail County over his next four years in the Minnesota Senate.
Ingebrigtsen plans to move the economy forward in this next term and reduce the red tape that’s been prolonging the permitting process for new businesses.
Throughout the district, Ingebrigtsen gained 22,712 votes defeating Dan Skogen (DFL) who received 20,213. Ingebrigtsen received 58.41 percent of the 13,262 votes cast in Douglas County.
Skogen carried Spruce Hill Township in Douglas County with 125 votes to Ingebrigtsen’s 105; Nelson was close, with Ingebrigtsen at 51 and Skogen with 49.
District 8 includes Douglas and Otter Tail counties.
SENATE DISTRICT 12
Representative Torrey Westrom will be swapping his representative title for “senator” after surpassing DFLer John Schultz by 9,474 votes district-wide in Senate District 12.
“I am humbled and grateful for the voters trust to represent their interests at the state capitol,” Westrom said. “I want to thank the voters of district 12 for their support.”
Westrom said although the Senate is half the size of the House, he doesn’t anticipate much difference aside from more committee assignments and shorter floor debates.
In the next session. Westrom plans to keep Minnesota’s job creation opportunities at the forefront.
“Pursuing government reforms to save money for the taxpayers, find efficiencies and re-size government will also be a priority,” Westrom said.
Nursing home reimbursement and paying back the school shift are also on Westrom’s agenda.
Republican Westrom gained 25,274 votes to DFLer Schultz’s 15,800. In Douglas County, Westrom took 67.56 percent of 7,852 votes placed and received the majority vote in every precinct. The largest margin was in LaGrand Township where Westrom received 1,876 votes to Schultz’s 854.
District 12 includes Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stearns, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties.
“Yes” was the majority vote in all 37 Douglas County precincts on the proposed marriage amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would define the recognition of marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Sixty-four percent of residents in Douglas County supported the amendment. The amendment was not supported statewide.
The constitutional amendment that would require photo identification for voting tied in one Douglas County precinct, received yes votes in 24 precincts and no votes in the remaining 12 precincts.
Citizens in Alexandria’s Ward 5, Precinct 2 submitted 505 yes and 505 no votes; 53.17 percent of Douglas County residents voted for the amendment. The amendment did not pass.
Senator Ingebrigtsen, one of the marriage amendment’s authors, said he is disappointed that the amendments did not pass.
“I am very proud of how District 8 voted,” Ingebrigtsen said. “That it did not pass is a missed opportunity.”