Schwab ousted; Dorman elected; Mower House results

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 6, 2002


Senate District 27 incumbent Grace Schwab, R-Albert Lea, is likely to be ousted by DFL challenger Dan Sparks of Austin. But, with the margin so small &045; 33 votes &045; the result needs to be confirmed by a recount mandated by state law.

DFL challenger Sparks, of Austin, outweighed Schwab in Mower County by 1,181 votes, while Schwab took Freeborn County by 946 votes and Fillmore County by 202 votes.

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&uot;I think things are looking good. We worked hard,&uot; Sparks said. &uot;Throughout the campaign, we ran an honest campaign. I work hard to talk with the people. Hopefully, they’ve spoken, and I am excited to represent them.&uot; Referring to the different outcomes between Freeborn and Mower counties, he said,

&uot;I think Albert Lea and Austin can go together, and I will continue to meet with the people in the communities in my district.&uot;

Sparks, a former Hormel worker, received wide support from labor organizations such as the AFL-CIO, Austin Central Labor Union, Albert Lea Trades and Labor Assembly and Teamsters Union. While Schwab emphasized her school board background and commitment to education, Education Minnesota also endorsed Sparks.

However, his victory requires confirmation through a recount, which may take more than another day.

A Minnesota statute requires a recount in any case where the difference between the top two candidates is less than 0.5 percent of the total number of votes.

The 0.5 percent threshold in this race is 165, which means the election is automatically entitled to a recount.

Freeborn County Auditor Dennis Distad said that he would contact the auditors of Mower and Fillmore counties today and discuss the process for the recount. &uot;Since the district lies across three counties, it’s likely that the state office is conducting the recount, sending down people to the counties,&uot; he said this morning. &uot;And, in that case, it is unlikely that we’ll have the recount today.&uot;

State law also defines that a recount does not affect any other part of the canvass.


Rep. Dan Dorman is relieved to have another election win, but knows the next two years in St. Paul won’t be easy.

&uot;It’s going to be a difficult session coming up and I think people are going to want an experienced person representing them,&uot; Dorman, R-Albert Lea, said. The state faces billions in budget deficits and hard questions and school and transportation funding, among others, next year.

Dorman defeated Emmons resident Allan Halvorsen, a Democrat, by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent, 10,102 votes to 7,495 for the District 27A state house seat, which covers Freeborn County and a small portion of Mower County.

&uot;Allan is a good competitor, very knowledgeable, very personable,&uot; Dorman said. &uot;It made for a hard choice, but I also think I’ve done a good job of representing my district.&uot;

First elected four years ago in a tight race, Dorman won an easy victory two years ago and will now serve his third term in St. Paul.

&uot;I think it’s certainly been very humbling the times that I’ve won,&uot; Dorman said. &uot;You feel a definite sense of responsibility but also appreciation.&uot;

Halvorsen said he’s grateful for the support he received.

&uot;I’m very pleased with the support I got and the help that people gave me, and I’d like to congratulate Dan Dorman for winning and thank him for running a clean campaign, too,&uot; Halvorsen said. &uot;I suggest that people who supported me and have concerns, make sure Dan Dorman knows about them.&uot;

He’s already been asked if he’ll consider another campaign in the future, and says he would consider it under the right circumstances.

&uot;If my supporters want me to, I may consider it,&uot; he said.

It was Halvorsen’s first try at public office, and he said it was a tremendous learning experience.

&uot;I think I gained a lot more appreciation for the work people do who run for public office,&uot; he said.


AUSTIN &045; Jeff Anderson knows all too well about close elections. Tuesday’s general election for the state House 27B race wasn’t any different.

It took until the early morning hours today for Anderson to celebrate his victory over DFL challenger Jeanne Poppe. Anderson, the Republican-nominated candidate, won by a vote count of 7,777-7,399.

Two years ago, Anderson lost the same race by approximately 500 votes to Rob Leighton, who decided not to seek another term. That left the race up for grabs between Anderson, an Austin High School social studies teacher, and Poppe, an Austin City Council member who also works at Riverland Community College.

&uot;I’m just so grateful to the voters,&uot; Anderson said. &uot;For them to give their vote to me is a very humbling thing. They’re trusting me to represent them and to do that to the best of my ability.&uot;


The GOP recovered the seat for House District 24B that opened up after DFLer Henry Kalis decided not to run for reelection.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, defeated United South Central School District school counselor Sandy Lorenz, D-Wells, by a close margin. While Lorenz made the best use of her ties with Kalis and her brother, former State Senator Tracy Beckman, in her campaign, Cornish successfully cultivated support from the local business community.

For House District 24A, incumbent Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, had a landslide victory against DFL challenger Lavonne Bowman, a former Fairmont city councilor.

A three-way race for Senate District 24 embraced Republican Julie Rosen, who challenged incumbent Chuck Fowler, D-Fairmont. Rosen successfully employed her husban”s roots in the private sector to broaden her constituency. Independence Party candidate Tim Hage failed to gain enough support between the two major parties.