Republicans Lohmer, Housley both win close races

Dettmer beats Bruno; Kent ousts Lillie from state Senate

Republicans Kathy Lohmer, Bob Dettmer and Karin Housley won their state legislative races Tuesday, but will be part of a Republican minority when the 2013 Legislature convenes early next year.

Democrats regained control of both the Senate and House of Representatives, helped in part by showings from DFL candidates like Susan Kent, who defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Lillie in District 53.

However, the DFL lost the District 39 Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Ray Vandeveer of Forest Lake when Housley scored a narrow victory over former DFL State Rep. Julie Bunn.

With all the district’s 33 precincts reporting, complete but unofficial results show Housley received 23,385 votes, 50.62 percent, while Bunn polled 22,754 votes, 49.25 percent.

In Washington County’s 30 District 39 precincts, Housley captured 22,642 votes, 50.56 percent, to Bunn’s 22,077, 49.30 percent.

For Housley, Tuesday night’s victory comes two years after she lost a challenge against Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Hastings.

“It’s such an honor that the people voted for me to represent them,” she said.

With all 24 District 53 precincts reporting, Kent received 22,781 votes, 52.13 percent, while Lillie polled 20,857 votes, 47.73 percent. Lillie had held the number four Republican leadership post during the last legislative session.

In House District 39B, complete but unofficial results from all 18 precincts show Lohmer receiving 12,099 votes, 52.98 percent, to DeGree’s 10,707 votes, 46.89 percent, in a race that was tight all Tuesday night.

:I’m very happy that I won. I represent the values in our district,” Lohmer said. “That’s why I feel I won.”

The victory gives Lohmer a second term in the state House. She defeated Bunn two years ago.

In House District 39A, complete by unofficial results show incumbent Republican Rep. Bob Dettmer defeated DFL John E. Bruno by 11,325-to-8,717 vote margin with all 15 district precincts reporting.

Both Lohmer and Housley were unhappy that Republicans lost their majorities in the state House and Senate.

“I had no idea what was happening across the state and the country,” Housley said. “I thought Republicans across the state would do better.”

“I was devastated that we lost the majority,” Lohmer said, adding that the group Alliance for a Better Minnesota spent millions to defeat her and other GOP state lawmakers.

“They spent more money in my race and were not able to defeat me,” she said.