Southwest DFL legislators win; big state gains should boost influence

As expected, DFL Southwest House incumbents easily won reelection. The smallest victory margin: 32 percentage points.

The big surprise: The state GOP’s 81-53 House majority nearly vanished — boosting city DFLers’ legislative power. At press time, the Republican margin was 67-66, not counting one late race where the Republican led by .5 percent. A recount could mean the House is tied.

Rep. Frank Hornstein of Linden Hills called it "a whole new ball game." Even if the Democrats lose the final race and remain in the minority, the Republicans won’t be able to push any legislation they want as they did last session, he said.

"Either way, it is going to be a significant change in tone and activity in terms of the House," Hornstein said.

He said the election showed people were most concerned about health care, education, jobs and transportation.

"We will get the Northstar corridor now," Hornstein said, referring to the defeat of Republican incumbent Bill Haas of Champlain, who opposed the rail line from downtown Minneapolis to Big Lake.

According to the Secretary of State’s Web site Nov. 3, Southwest’s results are:

District 60A: DFLer Margaret Anderson Kelliher beat the GOP’s Tom Gromacki 74 percent to 20 percent, with 6 percent for the Independence Party’s Sigrid Hutcheson.

District 60B: Hornstein topped Republican challenger Jeremy Estenson 79 percent to 21 percent.

District 61A: DFLer Karen Clark beat Republican Frederick Coates 88 percent to 12 percent.

District 61B: DFLer Neva Walker beat the GOP’s Andy Lindberg, 87 percent to 13 percent.

District 62B: DFLer Jean Wagenius beat the GOP’s Susie Valentine 75 percent to 25 percent.

District 63A: DFLer Paul Thissen topped Republican Amy Vrudny, 66 percent to 34 percent.