While many parts of Minnesota elected DFL challengers to serve in the Minnesota House and Senate, District 15 and 15A remained Republican strongholds for incumbents Sen. Dave Brown and Rep. Sondra Erickson.
“I am disappointed with the results at the state and national level but it is what it is,” Brown said.
It is the first time, since 1990, that the Minnesota Governor’s office and both the House and Senate have been controlled by Democrats – a fact that worries the incumbent senator.
“We will see government spending increase and I am very concerned with our debt,” he said.
DFL challenger Sally Knox, who lost by a little more than 5,000 votes, said it was a good race.
“It is inspiring to know that just an everyday working class mother of three can engage the public in debate and have nearly 17,000 people agree with her point of view,” Knox said. “Without the grass-roots efforts of so many people, the campaign would have barely taken form, let alone gain as much ground as we did.”
Knox said she hopes the experience will motivate people to become more politically active, beyond casting their ballots.
“Each person’s civic involvement determines the world we live in. Without active participation in all levels of government, the government is not representative of the people,” she said. “I encourage others to run for office. It doesn’t matter if the office is for school board, city, county, state or federal. If people don’t stand up and speak up, government is not a true voice of the people.”
Knox offered congratulations to Sen. Brown on his successful campaign and subsequent re-election.
“He was a hospitable opponent,” she said. “His job now is to work on behalf of this district and this state – to set aside the political tit-for-tat and work with people of all parties to get the job done on time and on budget.”
It was a much tighter race between Rep. Erickson and DFL challenger Joe Walsh.
“I am honored to serve the citizens of District 15A and the citizens of Minnesota for another two years and thank them for their continued support,” Erickson said. “I won by the percentage of GOP over DFL, according to the redistricting calculations – about four percent.”
Erickson expressed disappointment in the statewide election results that rejected both the marriage and voter identification amendments. But she isn’t phased by returning to the House as a member of the minority.
“I have been a part of a minority for half of my time in the legislature so I know what the process is,” she said. “I will have no problems with that situation and expect to be the lead Republican on the education policy committee. Aside from that, I hope to serve on different committees from last session.”
The Republican incumbent credits her election win to her message.
“I won because I ran a positive campaign of suggested specific ways to improve the economy and I think people appreciate learning about my ideas,” she said.
Wasting no time for victory speeches, Erickson said she will be hitting the ground running come January.
“My priorities for 2013-2014 include enacting policies that allow for job creation and/or job growth in the private sector and also proposing an incentive plan to help property-poor counties and cities increase their tax base but also reduce their property taxes,” Erickson said. “I also want to continue to reform state government so it is efficient and effective; find ways to limit the power of government agencies; promote policies that result in individual responsibility instead of government dependency; make the free market work by reducing subsidies; and enact more reforms in K-12 education to bring about excellent results in education.
“On the finance-side of K-12, a priority is to repay the shifts that occurred in the past several years,” she continued. “All of this will keep me very busy from January 8 to the middle of May.”
Joe Walsh was unable to be reached for comments as of publication Tuesday.