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A recount confirms it: Republicans control the MN Senate by 1 seat

The hand recount in St. Cloud upheld a Republican Senate candidate's narrow victory.

Their margin is as small as possible, but the Republican party will hold a majority of the Minnesota Senate seats when lawmakers return to St. Paul next month.

A recount that could have flipped the 34-33 GOP advantage announced on election night instead confirmed it.

The hand recount of about 40,000 ballots in a St. Cloud-area Senate district lasted three days and showed that Republican Jerry Relph defeated DFLer Don Wolgamott by 141 votes says The UpTake, which livestreamed the recount.

The result is seven votes closer than what election night returns showed. The St. Cloud Times notes it could still change because 51 ballots were challenged during the recount. But that's not enough to change the winner.

The outcome will not be official until it's certified by the Minnesota State Canvassing Board which meets on Monday, the Times says.

Wolgamott, who had requested the recount, tweeted a statement Wednesday that did not acknowledge defeat.

Because the result was so close, the state is paying for it. Minnesota election law allows for a publicly funded recount when the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point, the Secretary of State's office says.

The District 14 Senate seat was open because of the retirement of Republican John Pederson of St. Cloud.

With Relph's win, Republicans control the whole Minnesota Legislature. They already had a majority in the House and held onto that on Election Day.

The new Senate majority leader, Paul Gazelka of Nisswa, said in a statement Wednesday Republicans are "ready to focus on the important work of addressing the healthcare crisis and growing jobs in Minnesota," the Star Tribune reports.

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