The Democratic-Farmer-Labor incumbents will return to their seats in Minnesota Senate District 50.
Sen. Melissa Halvorson Wiklund, Rep. Michael Howard (House District 50A) and Rep. Andrew Carlson (House District 50B) won re-election Tuesday.
Wiklund, of Bloomington, defeated Republican Party challenger Dean Mumbleau by a 2-1 margin. Wiklund received 30,509 votes, while Mumbleau received 15,242. Senate District 50 includes the majority of Bloomington as well as precincts in Richfield.
“I am honored to be re-elected to represent Richfield and Bloomington for another two years in the Minnesota Senate. I plan to work on addressing the big concerns residents have about being able to afford their lives, including their health care, housing, and getting through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wiklund said in a statement following the election.
“I believe residents want to live in a community where all feel safe and where they have opportunities for their families to get a good education and good jobs. I will continue to work hard with my fellow legislators to create policies and a state budget that support these goals,” she added.
Howard, of Richfield, was better than a 2-1 winner over Republican Party challenger Tim Johnson. His 14,624 votes in the district serving precincts in both Bloomington and Richfield bested the 6,691 votes Johnson received.
Howard will begin his second term in January. He was pleased with the record turnout in his district and across the state. The Democrats have momentum as they return to the House in January, having retained the party majority. Despite the Senate majority remaining with Republicans, Howard is expecting “progress over the chaos we’ve seen, especially at the national level.”
The challenge in reaching out to voters during this year’s campaign was that greeting constituents face-to-face was ruled out due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those conversations were held by telephone, and early in the summer, there were plenty of connections made.
“People were eager to have human interaction,” Howard explained. As campaign activities reached a saturation point, connections were more challenging, he noted.
The state’s response to the pandemic will continue to be the top priority as 2021 Legislature convenes. There will be difficult decisions to make as the stress of the pandemic wears on families and the economy. Housing assistance for both renters and homeowners may be a pressing need as the state faces the potential end of CARES Act funding from the federal government, Howard said.
The election has ended, but, “The work is just beginning. I am grateful for this opportunity,” he stated.
Carlson’s margin of victory was the lowest of the three races. His 15,498 votes for the house district wholly within Bloomington garnered 63.2% of ballots cast. Republican Party challenger Gary Heyer received 9,021 votes.
Vote totals are based on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website reports as of 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8.
Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.