State Senate District 47: Julianne Ortman (63.8%) def. Jim Weygand (36.0%)
State House District 47A: Ernie Leidiger (62.5%) def. Keith Pickering (37.3%)
The two challenged legislative incumbents cruise to victories with margins somewhat smaller than 2010. Probably the biggest change for Ortman, Leidiger, and Joe Hoppe (who was unopposed in House District 47B) is that they will be working again from the legislative minorities, as the DFL flipped the script on the GOP and retook both houses of the Legislature. In fact, with the current results showing the DFL having a 39-28 lead in the Senate and 73-61 in the House, the DFL is poised to have larger majorities the next two years than the Republicans did in the previous two.
This will mean a significant loss in power for Ortman and Hoppe, who chaired committees when in the majority, but both will still be well-positioned to work on a bipartisan basis on critical issues. Although Ortman and the DFL majorities are out of step on many tax issues, fulfilling the promise of fundamental tax reform will require hard work from both parties to craft the best solution. Hoppe has worked well with many DFLers in the past, including Rep. Joe Atkins, who may very well end up taking the gavel on the Commerce Committee.
This will also be a challenge for Leidiger. His first term was rather unproductive (only one bill signed into law, placing him in the bottom quarter of the GOP freshmen), and that was with a Republican majority. Is Leidiger only interested in being a lightning rod backbencher, or is he capable of more? If he is capable of more, now is the time to show it.
Carver County Commissioner District 1: Gayle Degler (60.6%) def. John Siegfried (38.7%)
Carver County Commissioner District 2: Tom Workman (58.1%) def. Cheryl Ayotte (41.5%)
Carver County Commissioner District 3: Randy Maluchnik (67.0%) def. Vince Beaudette (32.3%)
Carver County Commissioner District 4: Tim Lynch (63.4%) def. Frank Long (36.2%)
Carver County Commissioner District 5: Jim Ische (53.3%) def. Jim Walter (46.3%)
The five incumbents all win re-election. The notable thing here is that for the second cycle in a row, the Republican-endorsed challengers all lost. As I’ve said before, this is a losing strategy for the local Republican Party. County issues are not partisan issues, and voters don’t appreciate partisan warfare being brought where it doesn’t belong.
Eastern Carver County School Board: Heather Nelson (25.0%), Amy Logue (24.0%) and Jeff Ross (19.2%) def. Jim Leone (17.8%) and Larry Doran (13.4%).
The housecleaning is complete with this vote, as Jim Leone is the last long-term incumbent on the Board is swept out of office. Highly qualified newcomers Logue and Ross join Nelson (who won election to reduced term in 2010) on the Board.
Chaska Mayor: Mark Windschitl (67.8%) def. Richard Swanson (31.1%)
This was a clear show of support for the current city leadership. Windschitl has grown greatly on the job the last three years, and Swanson’s failure to provide a clear case for change and his tax issues didn’t help his cause.
More analysis to come, including looking at the statewide races and constitutional amendments.