Sparks wins over Anderson with 68 percent of votes

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, November 7, 2012

State Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, will continue to represent District 27 for the next four years.

Sparks handily won the election over his opponent Linden Anderson, capturing 68 percent of the total vote and earning 26,549 votes to Anderson’s 12,326.

Dan Sparks

“We focused on a very positive campaign,” Sparks said.

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Sparks earned his fourth term since he first took office in 2002. He joins a number of Democrats around the state to win the election, and DFL candidates will take back control of the Minnesota Legislature about two years after losing the majority to Republicans.

“I think obviously we were very glad to regain the Minnesota Senate,” Sparks said. “It’s important that we have the majority, and we’ll continue to work hard for the people of Minnesota.”

Their wins — made possible by DFL candidates who beat Republicans in suburbs like Eagan and Edina and regional centers including Willmar, Owatonna and Moorhead — overturned GOP majorities just two years after they swept in, only to pound heads with Dayton over taxes and spending. The political impasse led to a government shutdown last year and made it harder for Republican candidates in tough races to portray themselves as bipartisan problem-solvers.

Republican losses included freshman Sens. John Howe of Red Wing, Ted Daley of Eagan, Ted Lillie of Woodbury, Benjamin Kruse of Brooklyn Park and Pam Wolf of Spring Lake Park. GOP Sen. Joe Gimse of Willmar lost to Democratic Sen. Lyle Koenen after new political boundaries put them in the same district.

Linden Anderson

Sparks will have little time to rest on his laurels, however. The state senator said with the incoming DFL majority in the state Senate, he expects to be named a committee chairman and hopes to work on tax reform in the state.

“With the state taking away last session the homestead market value credit, it really hit rural areas hard,” Sparks said. “That’s something we’re going to work hard on.”

Sparks out-fundraised Anderson, who was running for the first time, by more than double as donors gave $22,650 to Sparks this year as of Oct. 28, while Anderson garnered $10,653.99 this year as of Oct. 28. While Sparks received more than $10,000 in contributions from political committees, none of the listed individual contributors who gave to Sparks’s campaign were from the area. Sparks said his campaign earned many donations from local residents that were less than $100, which is the threshold to being named as an individual contributor according to campaign finance law.


—The Associated Press contributed to this report.