Republican state Rep. Jenifer Loon, the second-in-command among House Republicans, deftly fended off a primary challenge that arose in the wake of her vote to legalize same-sex marriage.
The victory was overwhelming. Loon, of Eden Prairie, received about twice as many votes as her Republican challenge Sheila Kihne.
Both Loon and Kihne had outside help in their campaigns with the spending on their race reaching well into the six figures.
Loon was one of just five legislative Republicans who supported same-sex marriage in 2013. One was felled by an endorsement challenge, one decided not to run again and one, Rep. Pat Garofalo, of Farmington, emerged this election season unscathed. The fifth, state Sen. Branden Petersen, of Andover, will not be up for re-election until next year.
“I don’t know any lessons anyone can take away from this off the bat, but one thing I’ve always tried to do is listen carefully to my district and constituents,” Loon said. “While it was a difficult vote, I made it feeling that was how my district felt and how they wanted me to vote. Perhaps it’s a validation of that or of them thinking I’m a good public servant and they want me to continue.”
Loon's suburban district had voted not to constitutional ban same-sex marriage back in 2012.
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