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Suburban voters push Democrats to victories in Minnesota

Minnesota Gov. elect Tim Walz celebrates during the election night event held by the Democratic Party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)

Minnesota Democrats regained control of the state House and took two congressional seats from Republicans in Tuesday's midterm elections, while Democratic Rep. Tim Walz defeated Republican Jeff Johnson for governor and Democratic Sen. Tina Smith kept her seat.

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 11:59 PM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 9:31 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Democrats regained control of the state House and took two congressional seats from Republicans in Tuesday's midterm elections, while Democratic Rep. Tim Walz defeated Republican Jeff Johnson for governor and Democratic Sen. Tina Smith kept her seat.

Bright spots for Republicans included a flip of a traditionally Democratic congressional seat in northeastern Minnesota and a victory in a special election for a single state Senate seat that prevented Democrats from taking that chamber.

Voters retained Smith for the final two years of Al Franken's term over Republican challenger Karin Housley.

Rep. Keith Ellison was elected attorney general in a race clouded by a domestic abuse allegation that drew far more attention to the contest than usual. But it was the struggle for the U.S. House that had many national observers eyeing Minnesota, where Democrats flipped two GOP seats, Republicans flipped a Democratic seat, and the race for Walz's seat remained tight.

U.S. HOUSE

In northeastern Minnesota's 8th District, Pete Stauber, a St. Louis County commissioner and retired Duluth police officer, defeated former state representative Joe Radinovich in a race that was seen as Republicans' best chance nationwide of picking up a Democratic seat. The seat opened up with Rep. Rick Nolan's retirement.

In the suburban 3rd District, Democratic businessman Dean Phillips defeated Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen. Phillips formerly ran his family's liquor company and is a grandson of the late advice columnist Abigail Van Buren, better known as Dear Abby. In the suburban/rural 2nd, Democratic former medical device company executive Angie Craig defeated incumbent Republican Jason Lewis, who narrowly beat her in 2016.

In southern Minnesota's 1st District, Republican Jim Hagedorn, a former Treasury Department official and son of a former congressman, was locked in a tight race against Democratic Iraq War veteran Dan Feehan, who was acting assistant secretary of defense for readiness in the Obama administration. The seat became open when Walz ran for governor.

History was made in the solidly Democratic 5th District, where state Rep. Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American — and one of the first two Muslim women — elected to Congress. Omar faced Republican Jennifer Zielinski in the Minneapolis-area district.

LEGISLATURE

Powered by surging turnout in the suburbs that pushed Democrats to commanding victories up and down the ballot, Democratic House candidates were on track to unseat enough Republican incumbents to take back the majority.

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt conceded they would lose the majority that they've held since 2015. The final margin of Democrats' majority was unclear as votes were still being tallied.

It had been considered a tall order, as Democrats needed to flip 11 seats to take control of the chamber. Republicans were bullish on their chances of defending longtime incumbents even amid a backlash against President Donald Trump and his party.

Democrats' new majority expands the party's foothold in state government. Walz won the open race for governor, but Republicans kept control of the state Senate in a special election in a rural St. Cloud-area district.

The special election was triggered when GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach resigned the seat to be sworn in as lieutenant governor. It's generally a safe GOP district, but Fischbach's departure left the Senate deadlocked at 33-33, raising the stakes in Tuesday's election. Minnesota's 66 remaining Senate districts aren't on the ballot until 2020.

GOP Rep. Jeff Howe, who has represented half of the district since 2013, defeated former Sartell mayor and county commissioner Joe Perske. With two weeks to go, more than $1 million of mailers and political spending poured into the race.

OTHER STATEWIDE

Secretary of State Steve Simon sought a second term as chief elections officer, emphasizing his work on beefing up cybersecurity to protect the election system from hacker attacks, and on boosting voter turnout. His Republican challenger was former state senator and former Red Wing mayor John Howe, who highlighted the office's lesser-known functions of business registrations.

In the race for the open position of state auditor, Republican Pam Myhra, a certified public accountant, former state representative from Burnsville and former audit manager for the accounting firm KPMG, faced Democrat Julie Blaha, of Ramsey, former secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, former math teacher and former president of the teachers' union in the Anoka-Hennepin school district.

Associate Justice Margaret Chutich sought re-election to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Her opponent, family law attorney Michelle MacDonald, was making a third run for the high court despite a past that included having her law license suspended for professional misconduct allegations. She remains on probation.

VOTING

Minnesotans embraced their expanded right to vote early. More than 600,000 people had already voted via absentee and mail-in ballots by Tuesday morning.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 58640

Reported Deaths: 1677
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18641828
Ramsey7233261
Dakota4188104
Anoka3515114
Stearns286420
Washington200944
Nobles17536
Olmsted168823
Scott147918
Mower10942
Rice10138
Blue Earth8745
Wright8475
Carver8162
Clay76840
Sherburne7037
Kandiyohi6871
St. Louis48619
Todd4222
Lyon4213
Freeborn3581
Steele3381
Nicollet32913
Benton3153
Watonwan3010
Winona25416
Crow Wing22514
Beltrami2150
Le Sueur2101
Martin2045
Chisago1891
Goodhue1878
Otter Tail1853
Cottonwood1750
Becker1501
McLeod1480
Pipestone1479
Polk1453
Waseca1380
Douglas1360
Itasca13512
Carlton1320
Unassigned13241
Pine1280
Dodge1250
Murray1221
Isanti1160
Chippewa1011
Wabasha870
Brown862
Meeker852
Morrison851
Faribault830
Sibley822
Rock770
Koochiching743
Pennington731
Jackson720
Cass712
Mille Lacs693
Renville625
Fillmore610
Lincoln540
Grant523
Swift521
Yellow Medicine510
Pope460
Roseau460
Houston410
Norman370
Kanabec321
Redwood320
Wilkin323
Hubbard300
Aitkin291
Marshall290
Mahnomen261
Wadena240
Red Lake230
Big Stone220
Lake200
Stevens170
Clearwater150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47424

Reported Deaths: 910
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10032206
Woodbury369151
Black Hawk308463
Linn227987
Johnson202116
Dallas184635
Buena Vista179112
Scott165514
Dubuque162331
Marshall142525
Pottawattamie128426
Story114114
Wapello87233
Muscatine84048
Webster7727
Crawford7263
Sioux6143
Cerro Gordo59617
Warren5471
Tama54529
Jasper46626
Wright4551
Plymouth4528
Louisa38014
Dickinson3774
Clinton3623
Washington29310
Boone2442
Hamilton2441
Franklin2339
Bremer2037
Clarke1953
Emmet1882
Carroll1851
Shelby1771
Clay1761
Hardin1730
Marion1620
Allamakee1544
Poweshiek1538
Des Moines1522
Jackson1481
Benton1461
Floyd1432
Mahaska13917
Guthrie1315
Cedar1281
Jones1272
Buchanan1231
Hancock1212
Butler1192
Henry1193
Pocahontas1151
Madison1142
Lyon1092
Lee1073
Cherokee1031
Clayton1023
Harrison1020
Humboldt1001
Delaware991
Taylor960
Iowa941
Monona910
Winneshiek911
Mills850
Page850
Calhoun832
Kossuth830
Sac820
Fayette810
Jefferson800
Palo Alto800
Osceola790
Mitchell780
Winnebago770
Grundy761
Union751
Monroe697
Worth650
Lucas574
Chickasaw540
Montgomery534
Davis521
Cass501
Howard490
Appanoose473
Greene390
Fremont370
Van Buren341
Keokuk331
Ida290
Audubon281
Adair270
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned30
Rochester
Scattered Clouds
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Mason City
Broken Clouds
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Albert Lea
Clear
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Hi: 82° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 84°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
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Feels Like: 84°
Charles City
Overcast
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Feels Like: 81°
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