The Latest: Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar enjoys another first
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on Minnesota’s elections (all times local):
Fresh off of becoming the first Somali-American elected to Congress, Ilhan Omar says she still enjoys being known for her firsts.
In 2016 the one-time refugee became the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature in the U.S. when she won a seat in the Minnesota House from Minneapolis. When the 5th District seat became open this summer, Omar grabbed the Democratic nomination. Her victory Tuesday also makes her one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
Omar said Wednesday that it’s a great opportunity, but it’s important to “own the moment, celebrate it, and then move on.”
She says she’s looking forward to working on infrastructure, health care and education.
And she says she plans to serve as “a true check and balance” on the Trump administration.
Tuesday’s election told the story of two political parties in Minnesota: resurgent Democrats and reeling Republicans.
Democrats shut out the GOP in statewide elections for a 12th consecutive year, winning an open governor’s seat, two U.S. Senate races and more. And they parlayed that dominant showing to sweep back into the majority in the state House.
The election results show a troubling and familiar trend. Republicans keep losing ground in Minnesota’s metropolitan core and its suburbs. Their share of the vote in the seven-county metro area has steadily slipped since former Gov. Tim Pawlenty won his second term in 2006.
Former Republican House Minority Leader Marty Seifert says his party needs to do some soul searching.
Democrat Dan Feehan says he’ll wait for official canvassing results before deciding his next move in southern Minnesota’s 1st District race.
Republican Jim Hagedorn won it by just over 1,300 votes.
Minnesota law calls for counties to review election results by hand-counting ballots in random precincts and comparing them to election-night totals. Depending on the county, that’s scheduled for Nov. 19 or 20. Results aren’t official until they’ve been certified by a canvassing board.
The margin for a publicly funded recount is a quarter of a percentage point. Hagedorn’s margin is above the cutoff, or just under half a point.
Republican Jim Hagedorn has won southern Minnesota’s 1st District race, flipping a Democratic seat that the GOP had targeted in hopes of hanging on to a House majority.
Hagedorn defeated Iraq War veteran Dan Feehan, a Democrat who was an acting assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration. It was Hagedorn’s fourth try for Congress.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz vacated the seat to run for governor, setting up an intense contest that drew nearly $15 million in outside spending.
Hagedorn came close to beating Walz in 2016, when President Donald Trump carried the district. He really never stopped running after that, and made his support for the president a centerpiece of his campaign.
Hagedorn is the son of former U.S. Rep. Tom Hagedorn, who once represented part of the same area.
Minnesota voter turnout was the highest it’s been for a midterm election since 2002.
According to preliminary estimates from the Secretary of State’s Office, nearly 2.6 million Minnesotans voted in-person on Tuesday or by absentee ballot. That’s about 63.8 percent of eligible voters in the state.
Midterm election turnout hasn’t been that high since 2002, when turnout was 64.9 percent during President George W. Bush’s first term.
A high turnout among Democrats helped them flip more than the 11 seats they needed to grab control of the state House. Democrats Tim Walz and Tina Smith won the governor and Senate races, while Angie Craig and Dean Phillips knocked off Republican incumbents to flip two U.S. House seats.
Democrats in Minnesota collected most of the victories they were expected to in Tuesday’s election, plus some they weren’t.
Tim Walz and Tina Smith won the governor and Senate races, confirming polls that had them leading most of the way. And Angie Craig and Dean Phillips knocked off Republican incumbents to flip two House seats, helping their party grab control of the chamber.
In a race that was up in the air right up to election day, Keith Ellison was elected attorney general after three months dogged by an allegation that he abused his former girlfriend.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the midterm, Democrats rode strong turnout to flip more than the 11 seats they needed to grab control of the state House.