Don't You Wish It Could Go on Longer? Well, election day is finally behind us (except for the recounts) and my guess is that most Minnesotans and Americans are relieved. Some may not be pleased with the results, but the die was cast with high turnout and little mention of voter impropriety, so it's difficult to argue that somehow things could have turned out differently.
The thing that struck me most, especially after the bitter campaign season, the grace and dignity with which both Senator McCain and Senator Obama carried themselves as they conceded and declared victory respectively. I've been listening to speeches for what seems like forever (I'm not sure I was actually at the Gettysburg address, but it sure feels that way some days) and I cannot recall two more inspiring and moving speeches delivered within such a short time frame. Both speeches were magnificent and really laid out the challenges facing this nation clearly. Further, the message coming from both men--reminiscent of their campaign themes of "Country First" and "Yes, We Can!"--spelled out the shared vision that although differences exist in the "hows" of building and maintaining our nation, the "what"--our United States--is something we all share.
And the Winners Are. I don't know how many of you out there are wrestling fans or can remember the booming voice of wrestling announcer Rodger Kent, who would utter in total disdain after a villian (usually Nick Bockwinkel or someone of that ilk) would defeat another opponent through dastardly means, "There's your winner, like him or not." Well, we have declared winners (in all but a handful) of the 136 legislative races held yesterday. There were some close ones.
The results for the two state senate races can be found at this link: http://ww2.startribune.com/news/metro/elections/returns/mlgssm.html?elr=KArks8c7PaP3E77K_3c::D3aDhUoaEaD_ec7PaP3iUiacyKUU
On its face, Princeton School Board Chair Lisa Fobbe's 86-vote victory over Alison Krueger is an upset, but there was the issue of the write-in campaign for former State Representative Mark Olson who garnered the Republican endorsement for the seat this summer after incumbent State Senator Betsy Wergin was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission. Olson lost to Krueger in the primary, but Olson's supporters vowed to commence with a write-in campaign and they did. It is difficult to determine whether or not the write-in totally did in Krueger, as one can never tell whether or not voters writing in Olson or someone else would have voted or voted for Krueger. Needless to say given the political complexion of that district, the Republican tends to win. Lisa Fobbe is, however, an excellent candidate, so it is difficult to discern how things would have turned out in the absence of the write-in effort. Needless to say, the write-in didn't help the Republican cause.
The House DFL caucus picked up two seats, but fell short of the 90 needed to make the House veto-proof. As I predicted yesterday (we'll get to those predictions later), I expected the DFL to pick up a few seats, but also believed that they would not maintain all of the seats they gained in 2006. While picking up six seats--Kulick Jackson over Erickson in 16A, Kath over Kuntz (vacant seat) in 26A, Sterner over Lindsay (vacant seat) in 37B, Obermueller over Wardlow in 38B, Rosenthal over Schneider (vacant seat) in 41B, and Newton over Cimenski (vacant seat) in 49B--the Democrats failed to hold onto four seats they won in 2006. Those seats were in 28A where Kelly defeated Wohllschlager, 31B where Davids (in a return to the Legislature) defeated Tschumper, 37A where Mack defeated Madore, and 51A where T. Sanders defeated Hamilton (vacant). Two things are important to note: (1) two of the DFL pick-ups (41B and 49B) were districts where Republicans who overrode the Governor's veto of the transportation bill either retired or were defeated in a primary, and (2) all four seats taken by the Republicans were against first-term DFLers--it's nit-picking, but 51A's first-term DFLer Scott Kranz chose not to run again--who took over a Republican-held seat in 2006.
The House race results can be viewed at: http://ww2.startribune.com/news/metro/elections/returns/mlghsm.html
About Those Predictions. Needless to say, I won't be heading to Vegas this year, as I used up all my luck with my predictions yesterday. I undershot on Obama's electoral vote total and the Coleman/Franken race was closer than I expected (and may be reversed after a recount), but other than that, my guessing skills were pretty decent.
Apologies. In my haste on Monday, I neglected to mention that St. Cloud school board member Joanne Dorsher, another candidate with SEE credentials, was also a candidate for the State House of Representatives against incumbent Steve Gottwalt. Three of our four candidates with roots in SEE did not win yesterday. In addition to Dorsher, Sue Bruns, and Otto Luknic all lost their races. Jerry Newton, as mentioned above, was successful in his race.