There were quite a few surprises and upsets on Election Day, both in Minnesota and North Dakota. Here are some of the key results of the election.
- Republicans picked up two of North Dakota’s three congressional seats as challenger Rick Berg ousted Democratic incumbent Rep. Earl Pomeroy. With all precincts reporting by early Wednesday morning, Berg received 54.77 percent of the vote (127,809 votes), while Pomeroy picked up 44.89 percent of the vote (104,748 votes). Pomeroy, who was running for a 10th term as North Dakota’s sole member of the U.S. House, was first elected to the office in 1992. Berg, a state representative from Fargo, has been in the North Dakota House since 1985. And Republican Gov. John Hoeven easily picked up retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan’s U.S. Senate seat. Hoeven beat out Democratic-NPL candidate Tracy Potter, picking up 76.14 percent of the vote (Potter got 22.11 percent of the vote, while Libertarian candidate Keith J. Hanson picked up 1.64 percent of the vote).
- Republican incumbents held onto North Dakota’s five statewide positions that were up for re-election this year. Secretary of State Al Jaeger held off Democratic-NPL challenger Corey Mock, getting 62.55 percent of the vote (Mock got 37.37 percent) and winning a sixth term in office. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem easily was re-elected, getting 74.63 percent of the vote. Democratic candidate Jeanette Boechler got 25.30 percent of the vote. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring defeated Democratic candidate Merle Boucher 68.07 percent to 31.83 percent. Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer was re-elected to another term, beating out Democratic challenger Brad Crabtree 61.51 percent to 34.84 percent. Libertarian candidate Joshua Voytek got 3.59 percent of the vote. And Tax Commissioner Cory Fong won another term, beating Democratic challenger Cynthia Kaldor 67.47 percent to 29.14 percent. Libertarian candidate Richard Flattum-Riemers picked up 3.33 percent of the vote.
- North Dakotans passed Measure 1, a ballot initiative that would establish a legacy fund for oil and gas revenues, voting 63.49 percent in favor of the fund. But residents defeated Measure 2, which would prohibit “fee killing of certain game animals.” That measure failed with 56.77 percent of residents voting ‘No.’
- With 99.66 percent of precincts reporting by 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, DFL candidate Mark Dayton was holding a narrow lead over Republican candidate Tom Emmer. Dayton has 918,232 votes, or 43.64 percent of the total, while Emmer got 908,980 votes, or 43.2 percent of the total. Independence Party candidate Tom Horner trailed with 11.94 percent of the vote. Emmer said Wednesday that he’s preparing for a recount to ensure “all valid votes are counted and the will of the voters is met.”
- Incumbent Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson (133,086 votes) defeated Republican challenger Lee Byberg (90,682 votes), winning another term as the 7th District’s representative. The district includes most of western and northwestern Minnesota.
- Incumbent Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann (159,479 votes) won another two years in the U.S. House from the 6th District, which covers northern Twin Cities suburbs and the St. Cloud area. Her race against Democratic challenger Tarryl Clark (120,846 votes) was the nation’s most expensive U.S. House race – Bachmann raised more than $11 million and spent at least $8.8 million, while Clark raised more than $4 million of her own.
- Incumbent DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar (129,067 votes) was defeated by Republican challenger Chip Cravaack (133,474 votes), ending Oberstar’s 18-term career in the U.S. House.
- Bob Rost beat out Mike Flannery, becoming the new Grand Forks County Sheriff.
- Three incumbents were re-elected to the Grand Forks County Commission – Diane Knauf (12,138 votes), Gary Malm (11,368 votes) and William “Spud” Murphy (11,169 votes) defeated challenger Michael Coachman (8,507 votes).
- District 17 – House – Democratic-NPL incumbent Rep. Louise “Weezie” Potter (2,538 votes) lost her re-election bid to Republican challengers Mark Sanford (4,013 votes) and Mark Owens (2,947 votes). Democratic-NPL candidate Bernell Bachmeier got 1,605 votes. The district includes southeast and south Grand Forks and some rural areas to the south and west.
- District 19 – House – Democratic incumbent Chris Griffin lost his spot on the state House from District 19, which covers rural Grand Forks County. Republican challengers Wayne Trottier (1,895 votes) and Gary Paur (1,935 votes) picked up the district’s two spots on the House; Griffin came in third with 1,549 votes, while Democratic candidate Bernice Kvasager got 1,069 votes.
- District 43 – House – Democratic-NPL incumbent Lois Delmore (1,890 votes) led Republican challenger Don Dietrich (1,884 votes) by only six votes – which means there will be a recount to determine who will win the district’s second spot on the state House. Republican Curt Kreun, a member of the Grand Forks City Council, won the other spot on the House, getting 1,963 votes. Democratic-NPL candidate Don Vangsnes got 1,504 votes. District 43 includes central Grand Forks.
- District 17 – Senate – Republican incumbent Ray Holmberg (3,348 votes) won another term in the state Senate, beating out Democrat Thomas Petros (1,567 votes).
- District 19 – Senate – Republican Gerald “Gerry” Uglem (2,182 votes) won the district’s Senate race, defeating incumbent Democrat Arthur Behm (1,182 votes).
- District 43 – Senate -Republican Lonnie Laffen (2,091 votes) won the district’s Senate seat, ousting incumbent Democrat JoNell Bakke (1,865 votes).
Politico reported Wednesday afternoon that Republicans have taken control of the U.S. House but didn’t gain enough seats to take the Senate:
An insurgent Republican Party seized control of the House of Representatives Tuesday but fell short in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid survived a tea party-fueled challenge to win a fifth term.
By 8 a.m. Wednesday, Republicans had picked up 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate, four short of what they needed to win control of the upper chamber. Senate races in Colorado and Washington were too close to call, and Alaska remained unsettled, although the GOP seemed likely to hold on â€“ one way or another â€” to Sen. Lisa Murkowskiâ€™s seat.