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Ellison elected AG, surviving abuse allegation

Minnesota Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison speaks during the election night event held by the Democratic Party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)

Rep. Keith Ellison has been elected Minnesota attorney general, surviving an ex-girlfriend's accusation of domestic abuse.

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 11:30 PM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 1:32 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on Minnesota's midterm election (all times local):

11:25 p.m.

Rep. Keith Ellison has been elected Minnesota attorney general, surviving an ex-girlfriend's accusation of domestic abuse.

Ellison defeated Republican Doug Wardlow for an office that threatened to swing to Republicans for the first time in nearly half a century.

Ellison rose to national prominence as the first Muslim elected to Congress and last year became deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He talked of using the attorney general's office to resist President Donald Trump's agenda.

Then his ex-girlfriend accused him of dragging her off a bed during an argument in 2016. Ellison repeatedly denied her allegations, but they helped make the race close, even though Wardlow was a virtual unknown.

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11:25 p.m.

Republicans have won a high-stakes special election to keep control of the Minnesota Senate.

GOP state Rep. Jeff Howe beat Democrat Joe Perske, a county commissioner, on Tuesday. Howe's victory preserves Republicans' 34-33 majority.

The district surrounding St. Cloud is considered safely GOP but Democrats pounced on a chance to retake control of the chamber. The Senate was left deadlocked at 33-33 after Republican Sen. Michelle Fischbach vacated her seat to be sworn in as lieutenant governor.

Both candidates played up their experience in the area as outside political groups poured hundreds of thousands of dollars in to influence the race. Howe has represented half the district in the House.

Perske was also former mayor of Sartell.

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10:55 p.m.

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt has conceded that Democrats will take back control of the chamber.

Daudt told The Associated Press that Republicans will lose the majority after Democrats flipped more than a dozen suburban districts. Democrats needed to win 11 districts to win back control of the chamber for the first time since 2014.

High turnout in the Minneapolis area and surrounding suburbs helped power Democrats up and down the ballot to victory. Democratic candidate Tim Walz also won Tuesday's race for governor.

The final margin of Democrats' majority in the House wasn't immediately clear as votes are still being counted. And Democrats could retake the state Senate with a special election in the narrowly divided chamber.

10:35 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Tina Smith says she's humbled by the Minnesota voters who elected her to fill out former Sen. Al Franken's term.

Smith defeated Republican state Sen. Karin Housley in Tuesday's special election. The race was triggered by Franken's resignation in January amid a growing sexual misconduct scandal.

Smith told supporters at a Democratic-Farmer-Labor gathering Tuesday night that she's anxious to get back to work in the U.S. Senate. She's held the seat since Gov. Mark Dayton appointed her in January.

Smith would have to face voters again in 2020 if she runs for re-election.

10:10 p.m.

Tim Walz says his election as Minnesota's governor and high voter turnout is proof that the state's "can-do spirit" is alive and well.

Walz defeated second-time Republican candidate Jeff Johnson on Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton chose not to run for a third term.

Walz was the favorite throughout the race, but his victory was still unusual. It marks the first time one of Minnesota's political parties has held on to the office for three or more terms since the 1950s.

Walz campaigned on expanding the state's low-income health care program to have a public option and increasing education funding. He said his victory was a sign that Minnesota residents want to see those policies enacted.

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9:58 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Tina Smith has won Minnesota's special election to finish the final two years of former Sen. Al Franken's term.

Smith defeated Republican state Sen. Karin Housley on Tuesday. The election was a 10-month sprint, triggered in January after Franken resigned amid a growing sexual misconduct scandal.

Smith got a head start in the race when she was appointed to take the seat by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Smith was Dayton's lieutenant governor and former top aide.

Housley tried to brand Smith as a political insider. But national Republican groups largely bypassed Housley's race, sinking resources instead into more winnable races in states like North Dakota and Wisconsin.

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9:49 p.m.

Rep. Tim Walz has won Minnesota's open race for governor, keeping Democrats' hold on the state's top office.

Walz defeated second-time Republican candidate Jeff Johnson. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton chose not to run for a third term.

Walz was ahead in public polling throughout the race, but his victory was still unusual. It marks the first time one of Minnesota's political parties has held on to the office for three or more terms since the 1950s.

Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner who ran against Dayton in 2014, struggled to gain ground against Walz after surpassing former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the August primary.

Walz spent six terms representing a Republican-leaning congressional district in southern Minnesota.

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