The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party won five of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts, adding to an already decisive night of Democratic victories across the state.
There were, however, some key Republican upsets throughout Minnesota, particularly in Minnesota’s First Congressional District where Republican Jim Hagedorn was called the winner early Wednesday morning.
Polls were calling the race a toss-up in the final weeks of the campaign, and the race ultimately came down to a difference of 1,311 votes in favor of Hagedorn, who defeated Democrat Dan Feehan by .45 percent of the vote.
Hagedorn finally succeeded in flipping the district from blue to red after losing to now governor-elect Tim Walz in 2016. This was Hagedorn’s fourth campaign for Minnesota’s First District, which he first campaigned for in 2010.
“It is deeply humbling to win the election for Minnesota’s First District. I’m honored to be your next congressman, and will fight everyday for patient-centered health care reform, secure borders, work for welfare and economic growth,” Hagedorn wrote Wednesday morning.
It is deeply humbling to win the election for Minnesota’s First District. I’m honored to be your next Congressman, and will fight every day for patient-centered health care reform, secure borders, work for welfare and economic growth. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/ywRwDtpTUQ
— Jim Hagedorn (@JimHagedornMN) November 7, 2018
Feehan is waiting to concede the race until the “official results” from the “county canvass officers” are released, his campaign said in a statement provided to KSTP.
“As this race is approximately 500 votes away from triggering a recount, the campaigns owe it to voters in the First Congressional District to wait until official results are in,” the Feehan campaign added.
As predicted, Republican Pete Stauber beat Democrat Joe Radinovich with 50 percent of the vote, compared to Radinovich’s 45 percent. Apart from a lone Republican term between 2011 and 2013, the district has been represented by the DFL since 1947.
During his acceptance speech, Stauber thanked his family for their support, saying his family “understands service and sacrifice.”
“Kids, I really appreciate it. You’ve been with me, and I missed some of your hockey games and volleyball games, but that’s what you have to do when you want to make this great country better,” he said, noting the historical significance of his victory.
“This isn’t just about me. It’s about the calling. For just the second time in 74 years voters in the Eighth District are sending a Republican to Congress,” Stauber said, saying the people “voted to safely and responsibly open mining in Minnesota.”
“Tonight, you voted for freedom, hope, and opportunity. Tonight you voted to unleash the economic engine in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District,” he continued to chants of “USA” from the crowd.
An emotional Radinovich addressed his supporters when returns started to point to a loss, but he said he planned to wait for all the votes to be counted before conceding.
“I am so glad that Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan will be in the governor’s office,” he continued, saying he will “focus on the positives.”
“Here’s some more good news: Republicans have lost congressional seats across the country,” he said. “We are so thankful that Democrats will have a majority in Congress.”
Radinovich grew emotional later in his speech when addressing what he called the “onslaught” of outside spending against him in the race.
“This campaign faced an onslaught of outside money—over $7 million just in negative ads against me, to define my character, to have you believe that I’m unfit for public office because of parking tickets and speeding tickets, and the time I smoked pot when I was 18 years old,” he said.
“I think about how we responded to that and it’s the only way that people in my life have ever responded to anything,” Radinovich added, saying he will “never forget” the supporters who came to “his defense.”
DFL unseats two Republicans
The DFL, meanwhile, flipped two Republican seats—Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, and Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, unseating Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN-02) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03), respectively.
Craig and Lewis first faced off in 2016 for the seat, though Lewis won by just two percent of the vote. This time, however, Lewis faced a wave of outside spending for Craig, making the race the second most expensive in the state at a combined $7.2 million raised.
“Up against a ‘green wave’ of campaign cash, I’m very proud of our team effort in MN-02. We put a heck of a dent in liberalism overturning much of the Obama legacy in just two short years,” Lewis tweeted Wednesday morning. “I remain grateful for all the support and I was glad to play a part.”
Up against a 'green wave' of campaign cash, I'm very proud of our team effort in #mn02. We put a heck of a dent in liberalism overturning much of the Obama legacy in just two short years. I remain grateful for all the support and I was glad to play a part.
— Jason Lewis (@Jason2CD) November 7, 2018
Craig said that “she knew from the beginning that this campaign was special,” saying everywhere she and her campaign went “folks showed up to discuss their hopes for the future.”
“From parades to canvass kick-offs to small business visits, I’ll always be grateful and will carry these stories with me to Congress,” she added.
We knew from the beginning that this campaign was special. Everywhere we went, folks showed up to discuss their hopes for the future. From parades to canvass kick-offs to small business visits, I’ll always be grateful and will carry these stories with me to Congress. #TeamAngie pic.twitter.com/PqdWxeSP6n
— Angie Craig (@AngieCraigMN) November 7, 2018
In Minnesota’s Third District, the race was called early for Phillips, who unseated the long-time incumbent at 55 percent to 44 percent, making it one of the most significant wins for the DFL of the night.
Democrat Collin Peterson, meanwhile, managed to hang on to his seat in Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District and narrowly defeated Republican Dave Hughes to serve a fifteenth term in Congress.
State Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) pulled off a resounding defeat over Republican Jennifer Zielinski in the Democratic stronghold of Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District and won a staggering 78 percent of the vote. Omar, who was on stage with Keith Ellison after his victory in Minnesota’s attorney general race, will succeed Ellison in the district as the first Somali-American member of Congress.
Both Republican Tom Emmer and Democrat Betty McCollum won their reelection bids, extending Republican control of Minnesota’s Sixth District and Democratic control of Minnesota’s Fourth District. In total, the DFL won five of eight congressional districts in Minnesota.
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