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Minge Concedes in Minn. House Race

December 12, 2000

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Rep. David Minge conceded defeat Tuesday to Republican businessman Mark Kennedy, a political novice who beat the four-term Minnesota Democrat by a razor-thin margin.

It was one of two House races in the country where recounts were under way; the other is in Michigan.

Kennedy’s win would give Republicans a 221-211 edge with two independents, counting the Michigan race as being called for the Republican. One House seat became vacant with the death last week of Rep. Julian Dixon, a California Democrat who had been elected to a 12th term Nov. 7.

The certified tally in Minnesota’s 2nd District gave Kennedy a 155-vote victory. Minge pressed for a recount, and a judge began considering 350 disputed ballots Monday.

Minge made the concession announcement with about a dozen supporters flanking him. At times, his voice quivered and his eyes welled with tears.

``I congratulate Mark Kennedy on his success,″ Minge said. ``I’ve talked to him on the telephone this morning and extended my best wishes.″

Minge said that even under ``the most optimistic scenario we could construct,″ he projected that he would wind up 50 votes behind.

Minge, 58, was one of only two Democratic incumbents to lose his House seat. He was a self-described ``Blue Dog,″ a group of about 20 moderate to conservative Democrats who tend to focus on fiscal issues.

Kennedy, 43, a onetime corporate finance director for Pillsbury, ran on a slogan of ``Kennedy Means Business.″ Unlike Minge’s previous challengers, Kennedy was an adept fund-raiser and was able to dip into his own pocket to pay for TV ads.

Election officials in Michigan are recounting ballots in an equally tight contest pitting Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat Dianne Byrum for the seat being vacated by Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who won a U.S. Senate seat. As of Monday evening, Rogers had a lead of 108 votes, according to the Michigan secretary of state’s office.

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