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Minnesota Democrats win two state legislative special elections

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January 12, 2012

Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota: Democrats on Tuesday won two special state legislative elections, one each in the House and Senate. Both seats were previously held by Democrats. Republicans continue to retain the majority in both chambers - 37-30 in the Senate and 72-62 in the House.

Senate District 59

Kari Dziedzic overwhelmingly defeated 21 year-old Republican Ben Schwanke by a margin of 3,393-824. They were competing for the chance to replace Lawrence Pogemiller, who had held the seat since 1983. He resigned last October in order to accept an appointment as Director of the Office of Higher Education.

Dziedzic, who currently serves as an aide to Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein, will be sworn-in when the 2012 legislative session begins on January 24. Her term will end next year, but she said she'll run again in November.[1]

House District 61B

Susan Allen won the race for House District 61B, defeating Independent Nathan Blumenshine 1,155-886. No Republicans filed to run in the contest.

In accepting defeat, Blumenshine spoke highly of his opponent, saying, “Susan is a remarkable woman and a dedicated progressive. Her personal story is a powerful one, and I can’t think of a stronger leader to serve as the voice of this community. I laud the respectful tone that she showed me and brought to this race."[2]

Allen will be the first Native-American woman to serve in the legislature and, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, she will also be the first lesbian Native-American legislator in the nation.[3]

The seat was previously held by Jeff Hayden who resigned after being elected to the state Senate in the October 18, 2011 special election.[4]

All 67 Senate and 134 House seats will be up for election on November 6, 2012.

References

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