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Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Two recounts confirm wins for Republicans elected to Minnesota Senate

The initial election outcome in a St. Cloud-area Senate race will stand after a recount and Republican Jerry Relph will join fellow GOPers in the Capitol next year, according to unofficial election results.

After a few days of re-counting ballots, officials concluded Relph won 17,519 votes, besting DFLer Dan Wolgamott by just 141 votes -- 7 fewer than the original election results.

Wolgamott picked up 6 votes in the recount while Relph lost one. Wolgamott lost the open seat by less than a half one percent. The seat was left vacant by state Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, who retired after two terms.

A previous recount in a Minnetonka-area Senate seat also confirmed the results showing Republican Paul Anderson besting Deb Calvert for the seat vacated by state Sen. Terri Bonoff who ran for Congress.

"Now that the recounts are complete and the final numbers are in, Senate Republicans are ready to focus on the important work of addressing the healthcare crisis and growing jobs in Minnesota," said incoming Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, in a statement.

Results will not be official until the State Canvassing Board meets next week to allocate the challenged ballots and certify the results, according to a spokesman for Secretary of State Steve Simon. 

If Rep. Ellison steps down, a Minneapolis special election next year

WASHINGTON -- If Rep. Keith Ellison steps down from his Congressional seat to run the Democratic National Committee full-time, a primary and a special election will take place in 2017, Secretary of State officials said Monday.

Since next year is an off-year, the office would have to organize both a special primary and a special election for voters to choose another person to serve in the post. Gov. Mark Dayton would ultimately pick the dates, but the special election would have to be between 20 and 24 weeks from the day Ellison vacates his seat. A special primary must be held 11 weeks before the special election, according to state rules.

Ellison, a popular member of Congress who was just re-elected to his sixth term by more than 70 percent, left open the possibility over the weekend that he would vacate the seat to take the top job at the DNC  -- a concession to voting DNC members who worry that a full-time member of Congress won't have the time or energy to devote enough resources to the job.

The previous chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was also a member of Congress from Florida.

If Ellison did leave his post, it would set off spectacular jockeying among DFLers in Minneapolis who would vie for the job -- a nationally known DFL stronghold. Already, people are throwing their names out as possible contenders.

Ellison said he was going to continue to talk to voting DNC members about the decision and he hadn't made any further comments through the weekend or Monday.

His spokesman Brett Morrow said: "Keith believes wholeheartedly he has the energy and ability to serve in Congress and as the chair of the DNC at the same time. He wants to continue having conversations with DNC members about different leadership models."