Democrats retained control of two Minnesota Senate seats Tuesday night in special elections to replace two longtime state legislators.
In Brooklyn Center, registered nurse Chris Eaton won the seat formerly held by DFL Sen. Linda Scheid, who passed away this summer after a six-year battle with cancer. Rep. Jeff Hayden, an incumbent legislator who represents south Minneapolis, will take the Senate seat of DFL Sen. Linda Berglin. Berglin retired to become health policy program manager for Hennepin County.
Eaton won her race with 61 percent of the vote. The Republican candidate, Cory Jensen, finished second with 32 percent. Hayden garnered 68 percent of the vote, placing far ahead of Green Party candidate Farheen Hakeem's 21 percent.
Eaton said that "a lot of people worked very hard" to pick up the seat, which encompasses Brooklyn Center and part of Brooklyn Park. She was surprised with her strong margin, since Republicans have won many special elections in that area.
"I broke a jinx or something," Eaton said. She looks forward to working on job creation and health care policy at the Capitol.
Hayden's victory will trigger another special election for his House seat, which covers many south Minneapolis neighborhoods below Lake Street surrounding Interstate 35W. Even before Tuesday night's election, three people had already created fundraising committees for that seat.
Hayden said he "didn't take a single vote for granted and ran a robust campaign."
"I will work for a fair tax system, better schools and single-payer health care," Hayden said in a statement. "I'll work for equality and I'll work to win back our DFL majority."
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 Twitter: @StribRoper