Changing political landscape on the Iron Range

After the election, there are more Republicans headed to the state legislature, representing the Range.

One of them is senator-elect Rob Farnsworth, who defeated Ben DeNucci in the District 7 race. That spot was left open after longtime lawmaker Dave Tomassoni retired. “Of course we’re excited, although we are disappointed to lose the majority in the senate. We’re just going to have to work harder then.”

Farnsworth has run for other races before, and he believes that paved the way for this success. Plus, he believes there’s a change in the treatment of mining country. “I think it’s a reaction to the DFL, particularly, in the metro, being anti-mining,” he said.

Another is Spencer Igo, for House District 7A. He and fellow incumbent, DFL’er Julie Sandstede, were pitted against each other after redistricting.

Igo told us, “Not once did she or I do any mud-slinging. We ran on who we are and how we want to represent, and I think it was really powerful.”

He is excited to head back to St. Paul, and continuing building relationships. His first session was over COVID.

Ely’s mayor and Republican Roger Skraba holds a slim lead in the House 3A spot over DFL’er Rob Ecklund. Skraba said he is confident in the numbers, and wants to stop the polarization of the issues.

“I don’t think people care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. They want someone who can do something. They are tired of the in-fighting,” he said.

In Senate District 3, Democrat Grant Hauschild won over Republican Andrea Zupancich.

Senator Tom Bakk decided to retire, which left a vacancy in that spot. “Our race is what gave the DFL the trifecta,” Hauschild said. “That’s a testament to the sort of no-nonsense message that we had throughout the campaign. I think throughout the campaign, we were honest with folks, that I don’t follow a party line.”

He said calls from former Senator Doug Johnson also helped him along the campaign trail.

Democrat Dave Lislegard did hold on to his 7B spot in the Minnesota House.

According to the Secretary of State, there is no longer an automatic recount process. Instead, state law outlines that candidates can request a publicly funded recount after the election results are canvassed and certified at the county and state levels if the margin is 0.5% or less.

The state will canvas results on November 29. Recount requests could be made after that point.