DFL holds on to attorney general, state auditor, secretary of state offices


Three of Minnesota's most prominent constitutional offices are remaining blue.

The secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor races all were called for the Democratic candidates – two of them taking the race with sizable leads, the other sneaking by in a tight contest.

With about 99 percent of precincts reporting, Lori Swanson (attorney general) and Rebecca Otto (auditor) hold a 12-13 percent lead on the second-place candidate in their contests, both Republicans.

The bid to replace outgoing Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was the close one.

DFLer Steve Simon sported a less than 2 percent lead in Republican Dan Severson as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the office. Simon had 899,610 votes (47.03 percent) to Severson's 877,637 (45.88 percent).

Simon wasn't called the winner until about 2 a.m. by most outlets, as KARE 11's Jeremiah Jacobsen noted, and was the last of the three offices to have a winner declared.

In a statement on his website released just before 3 a.m., Simon thanked the voters and said he's "honored" to be the next secretary of state.

"Our campaign was based on a very simple principle: that a society in which every voice counts is a society in which every vote is counted. That isn’t just a Democratic principle or a Republican principle…that is a Minnesota principle!" the statement reads.

Simon is currently a state representative for Hopkins, and MPR says he sponsored legislation to expand absentee voting options. The state adopted "no excuse" absentee voting for this election, and early voters turned out in large numbers compared to the last midterm election.

Simon will take over for the outgoing Ritchie, who chose not to seek a third term. Ritchie was widely praised and criticized for his implementation of an online voter registration system in Minnesota.

Otto and Swanson

Otto and Swanson had short nights comparatively. Both were declared winners around 10:15 p.m., as FOX 9's Seth Kaplan tweeted.

Otto had 51.51 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., with Republican Randy Gilbert trailing at 39.98 percent, according to the Secretary of State's Office. Independence Party candidate Patrick Dean had 4 percent, and the Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis candidate Judith Schwartzbacker 2.87 percent.

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Swanson held a similar advantage Wednesday morning, with 52.6 percent of the vote. Republican Scott Newman had 39.02 percent, Legal Marijuana Now candidate Dan Vacek 2.98 percent, and the Independence Party's Brandan Borgos 2.3 percent.

MPR says Democrats have held that office for 43 years straight.

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