UPDATE: Voters return incumbents to Minnesota House
Duluth area voters returned all three sitting state representatives to their House seats Tuesday night.
District 7A Rep. Jennifer Schultz, District 7B Rep. Liz Olson and District 3B Rep. Mary Murphy all retained their respective posts. Each faced a Republican challenger, but the incumbents — all members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party — prevailed.
Schultz, an associate professor of economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth, has served four years representing residents of Duluth's eastern neighborhoods, who elected her to a third term on Tuesday. She garnered 73.67 percent of votes cast compared with 26.19 percent of votes her challenger, Dana Krivogorsky, a research scientist, received.
"I think the high voter turnout helped me... and I'm really grateful for all the hard work that the DFL party and labor put into turning out people to vote," Schultz said.
Voters in Duluth's western neighborhoods tapped Olson, a community organizer and freshman legislator, to serve a second term. She received 71.84 percent of the vote. Her opponent, first-time candidate Caroline Burley, received 28 percent of votes cast. Burley holds a degree in business administration and has a work background including stints in the insurance and information technology industries.
Olson, too, said she believes the strong turnout worked to her advantage, bringing many new voters to the polls.
"I think the fact that I also have a track record of being able to deliver for Duluth helped, as well, and people have been able to follow along with what I've been able to accomplish in the Legislature, even being in the deep minority," she said, voicing hopes that the DFL could be returned to the House majority for the first time since 2014.
Murphy, a retired educator and Hermantown resident, already has served 42 years in the Legislature and while in a tighter race, she was elected to a 22nd term. She defeated her opponent, former Hermantown Mayor and insurance agent Keith MacDonald, with 60 percent of the vote compared with 40 percent cast for him.
Murphy is the second-longest-serving representative in the Minnesota State Legislature. Her district, located north and west of Duluth, includes Hermantown, Proctor and Two Harbors.
Heading into the election, Republicans held a majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives, with 77 seats to the DFL's 57. Wednesday morning's results show the DFL gained control of the Minnesota House of Representatives with 70 seats to the Republicans 56 seats.
Minnesota state representatives are elected to two-year terms and receive an annual salary of $45,000.