Utke defeats DFL challenger for Senate District 2
BEMIDJI -- Incumbent Sen. Paul Utke, R-Park Rapids is leading in the race to keep his District 2 seat.
With 99% of precincts reporting Wednesday afternoon, of the estimated votes in, Utke was leading DFL candidate Leonard Alan Roy, by a 65-35% margin. With 43,722 votes in, Utke had 28,551, while Roy gained 15,171.
An insurance agent and former Park Rapids City Council member, Utke, 63, is nearing the end of his first term in the Senate. In 2016, Utke won the District 2 seat over Rod Skoe 22,232-17,002. Skoe Had served in the Senate since 2003.
In an interview with the Pioneer before the election, Utke said he will be prioritizing the state's financial situation.
"We have to start the next biennium budget and we're going to have quite a large shortfall," Utke said. "It's something that needs to be done and we'll get it done. I'll do my best to represent all of my people with a balanced budget."
Utke's challenger Roy, 36, is the White Earth Nation Secretary-Treasurer and a U.S. Army Reservist. In the lead up to the election, Roy told the Pioneer that he would have also had a financial focus.
"We need to rebuild our economy and I believe that means we need to prioritize legislation to directly support our employers and workers so they can pay their bills and take care of their families. I also believe that we need to prioritize healthcare because of the pandemic."