Nov. 20, 2006

Amidst a pocket of Republicanism

By Lynda Jensen

Although the winds of change swept in numerous Democratic candidates into office across Minnesota, this fever stopped cold when it came to the three-county area of Wright, McLeod, and Carver counties.

In fact, looking at precinct results from each county outlined an interesting pocket of Republican voters in the heart of Minnesota with these counties planted squarely in the middle of this area.

During an election that featured paper-thin margins and split votes over political parties, Carver County in particular stands out as the most conservative county in the entire state, being the only county to have Republican candidates carry every seat with healthy margins when it comes to the governor’s race, US senate, US representative seats and state senate seats.

Camden Township, located south of New Germany has precinct results that show a three-to-one margin of votes cast for Republicans vs. Democrats, of registered voters there who cast ballots in the last election.

Otherwise, the rest of the state was carried by Democrats when it comes to those four different seats.

Interestingly enough, many counties on the Iron Range and in the northern part of Minnesota still voted for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, with nearly every other race on the ballot carried by Democrats there.

Red or blue?

Due to the razor sharp closeness of some races, many counties revealed their political preferences in some sense by how each precinct cast votes, whether strongly one way or the other. They are listed as the following:

• Wright County is Republican, with many seats being carried by Republican candidates via easy margins.

This included Michele Bachmann by 54 percent, candidate Mark Kennedy (50 percent, a 3 percent lead over Amy Klobuchar), and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (59 percent vs. Mike Hatch’s 35 percent of ballots cast in this county). In addition, all three state senate seats were carried by Republicans (Steve Dille, Amy Koch, and Warren Limmer).

• McLeod County is carefully Republican.

The governor seat and a single state senate seat (Steve Dille) were easily carried by Republican candidates, although the US senate seat was picked up by a Democrat (Amy Klobuchar by a paper-thin margin of 1 percent), and Collin Peterson (55 percent, although this is a less wide margin than other counties carried by him).

• Carver County is sharply Republican, with every seat being carried by healthy margins, including Governor Tim Pawlenty (63 percent), US Rep. US Rep. John Kline (63 percent), State Senator Julianne Ortman (60 percent) and candidate Mark Kennedy for US senate, who carried this county by 51 percent (a 6 percent lead), but ultimately lost the race.

• Hennepin – This county can be characterized as leaning Democrat, but not very heavily, since Tim Pawlenty carried the governor’s seat, and two out of three US Representative seats were carried by Republicans. However, 13 of 18 state senate seats were cast for DFL candidates and Amy Kl obuchar carried it for US senate by a 32 percent lead.

• Anoka is Republican, since several seats were carried by Republicans including governor, two of three US representative seats and six out of eight state senate seats. Nevertheless, DFLer Amy Klobuchar carried Anoka for US senate.

• Renville is heavily Democratic, casting votes for most major seats that way – such as the case for US senate (Amy Klobuchar, 57 percent), US representative (Collin Peterson 70 percent), and a single state senate seat (66 percent) – except for the governor, where Tim Pawlenty managed to squeak by with a 7 percent margin.

• Meeker County is barely Republican, with the governor taking 53 percent of the votes, and the single state senate seat (Steve Dille) taking 65 percent of the votes.

However, that’s where Republican influence ends there, as Amy Klobuchar took 52 percent of votes for US senate, and DFLer Collin Peterson carried the US representative seat for District 7. Even the two state representative seats are evenly split when it comes to precinct tallies for this county.

• Sibley is nearly straight up and down the middle, except for a slight shift toward Republicans, with the strongest showing in the governor race where Tim Pawlenty took that seat by 20 percent.

However, the US senate seat and US representative seat were both carried by Democrats, as well as one of two state senate seats. All of the seats compared were by close margins except for two seats, one Democrat (DFL Collin Peterson by an 18 percent lead) and a state senate seat (Republican Tom Neuville by 17 percent).

• Sherburne County is Republican, where that party took all of the seats in question from US senate to two out of three state senate seats, and Pawlenty took the county by 59 percent, compared to Hatch’s 35 percent.

• Scott County is heavily Republican, with many seats there being carried by double digit margins, except for one of four state senate seats. Pawlenty carried 60 percent of the votes there.

• Stearns County is Republican, although DFLers took the US senate seat and the US representative seat (Collin Peterson with 70 percent of votes). Two of three state senate seats are Republican and Republican Michele Bachmann was elected to the other US representative seat. Tim Pawlenty carried 56 percent of votes in this county.

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