BEMIDJI – Roger Erickson, newly elected state representative in House District 2A, had a substantial lead early Tuesday night, but he didn’t rest easy until the final numbers were in.
“We did not expect that margin,” Erickson said. “It was really impressive.”
Erickson, a Democrat from Baudette, defeated Rep. Dave Hancock, R-Bemidji, with 54.6 percent of the vote to Hancock’s 45.3 percent. Vote totals were 10,730 for Erickson and 8,901 for Hancock.
“A lot of the early stuff was from my Lake of the Woods County, which we expected to be pretty positive for us, then the (Red Lake) Reservation came in a little earlier than expected, which boosted it up,” Erickson said.
Erickson said he started to feel more confident when more numbers came in around 1:30 a.m. “I looked at the townships that hadn’t come in, and they were getting smaller and smaller,” he said. “I never let myself get too worked up until the final numbers came in.”
After seeing early returns, “I knew it was going to be a real struggle,” Hancock said, adding that he was happy with the campaign he ran.
“I thought I kept it positive. I thought I presented an alternative, returning to a free enterprise and a personal responsibility agenda, as opposed to increased government involvement, and the people decided otherwise.”
He thanked the people who worked on his campaign and the people of District 2A “for the honor of representing them for the past two years. Hopefully, we did a few things that in the long run will be beneficial to the people of this state.”
Erickson credited his campaign manager, C.T. Marhula, a longtime friend, and the campaign volunteers who drove him around and introduced him to people.
“We kept at it, worked hard all summer and all fall,” he said. “We did a lot of good things on this campaign.”
Erickson said he felt he had a good message. “No one out there was believing in a balanced budget, the billion dollar surplus,” he said. “We just kept that up, and it was a good message.”