The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election 2008

November 7, 2008

Final tallies in for area voters

MANKATO — It’s over (other than that one Senate race).

And with only 724 days until the Nov. 2, 2010, midterm election, one would expect to get a respite from campaigning for a year or so. But one candidate who came up short Tuesday is making clear he’s already looking ahead to a rematch.

“I’m disappointed with the loss,” wrote Mike Bidwell of North Mankato in an e-mail Wednesday morning. “However, I don’t view this as a 4 month campaign for 2008, but 28 month campaign for 2010. ... The challenge continues.”

Bidwell was a last-minute Republican challenger to state Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter — just beating the July 15 filing deadline when no other GOP candidates had stepped forward. Morrow won 64 percent of the vote in District 23A, which stretches from North Mankato to Gaylord and Winthrop.

McCain wins most area counties

A few numbers from the presidential race in south-central Minnesota:

Blue Earth County voters were most favorable toward Barack Obama (55 percent), followed by Nicollet (54). Watonwan County was the only other regional county to support the president-elect, giving him a narrow 49-48 percent win over Republican nominee John McCain.

All other counties favored McCain, led by Sibley (58 percent) and Martin (56). Other counties won by McCain were Brown (55 percent), Waseca (53), Faribault (52) and Le Sueur (51).

Hispanic voters, who preferred Obama by overwhelming margins nationally, probably made the difference for Obama in Watonwan County — where he won by 35 votes. The St. James Plaindealer reported that in one city precinct new Hispanic registrations were four times higher than four years ago by 11 a.m. Election Day.

Franken comes up short in region

In the still-to-be-decided Senate race, Democrat Al Franken didn’t come close to matching Obama’s support in south-central Minnesota. Franken beat incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman only in Blue Earth and Nicollet counties, but in both cases the former “Saturday Night Live” writer’s percentages were 13 points lower than Obama’s.

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Election 2008