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Election Notebook: State’s delegation moves a little to the left

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ST. PAUL — The Minnesota congressional delegation will lean heavier Democratic next year.

Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack conceded to Rick Nolan early Wednesday in the U.S. House district taking in the northeastern quarter of Minnesota, giving Democrats five of the state’s eight U.S. House seats. Minnesota’s two senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, also are Democrats.

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Nolan, who served in Congress 30 years ago, won 54 percent of the vote in a surprisingly strong showing.

The last congressional race to be determined left Tea Party icon Rep. Michele Bachmann in office. The Republican edged first-time candidate Democrat Jim Graves 50.45 percent to 49.27 percent.

Klobuchar had no trouble beating under-funded Republican Kurt Bills.

Lawmakers ousted

Most of the 15 Minnesota state legislators who lost re-election bids Tuesday were short-timers, many in their first terms.

But among the those who lost were two committee chairmen and Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Woodbury, an assistant GOP leader. After district lines were redrawn early this year, Lillie moved to Woodbury in an attempt to retain his Senate seat.

Also losing was Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He and Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, were paired in a new district, one that included territory Koenen had served as a House member.

Pending a recount, the House will have 42 new members, 27 DFLers and 15 Republicans. Eight former lawmakers also are returning to the House.

Twenty-three new senators — 14 Democrats, nine Republicans — were picked Tuesday, a mixture of totally new legislators, ones who moved from the House and some who had left the Legislature and are returning.

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