The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 7, 2012

Area House races tight with more votes to come

By Mark Fischenich
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — Two area freshmen Republican House members were in very tight re-election bids late Tuesday night, but each race had a lot of votes to be counted.

District 18B

(6 of 48 precincts)

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, was leading 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent for Logan Campa, DFL-Hutchinson, in the district that includes Sibley County.

District 20A

(13 of 21 precincts)

Le Sueur DFLer Ryan Wolf was leading Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, 52.4 percent to 47.5 percent in a district that includes the western half of Le Sueur County (other than Kasota).

District 16B

(68 of 68 precincts)

Republican Rep. Paul Torkelson, who moved his residence a few miles north to Lake Hanska after legislative redistricting left his home in the same district with Republican Rep. Tony Cornish, had 56 percent of the vote late Tuesday in a three-way race. James Kanne, DFL-Franklin, had 32 percent and New Ulm independent Jerry “Pike” Pagel had 12 percent.

District 23A

(85 of 88 precincts)

Fairmont Republican Rep. Bob Gunther, who was facing perhaps his most aggressive electoral challenge in his 10th run for the House, still cruised to victory — 57 percent to 43 percent — over Kevin Labenz, DFL-Welcome. The district, which includes part of Watonwan County and much of Faribault County, had never before given Gunther less than 61 percent of the vote.

District 24A

(23 of 23 precincts)

Republican John Petersburg won a battle of Wasecans to claim the seat vacated when Rep. Kory Kath, DFL-Owatonna, didn’t seek re-election to a third term. Petersburg picked up 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Democrat Craig Brenden.

Districts 19A & 23B

Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter, and Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, were unopposed. Morrow won a fourth term in the House and Cornish was re-elected to a sixth term.