DFLer wins special election for northeastern MN House seat

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DFLer Rob Ecklund is the newest member of the Minnesota House, after winning a special election Tuesday in District 3A to fill the seat formerly held by David Dill, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Dill, also a DFLer, died of cancer in August after serving in the House for 12 years.

Ecklund received about 64 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic district, compared to 19 percent for Republican Roger Skraba and 16 percent for independent candidate Kelsey Johnson, according to the Secretary of State's office.

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released a statement congratulating Ecklund on his victory.

“Rob won this election by staying true to the DFL messages of expanding economic opportunity in northern Minnesota, honoring the regions long tradition of hunting and fishing, and addressing the serious economic needs of the region," he said.

Ecklund faced the greater challenge in the DFL primary, which was held in late September. He defeated several candidates including Bill Hansen, owner of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, in what was considered a referendum on the future of the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in the district.

Ecklund called himself "100 percent pro-mining," while Hansen, an environmentalist, opposes PolyMet's plans. 

Ecklund is currently a Koochiching County commissioner and works at the Boise paper mill in International Falls, according to the News Tribune. He will fill out the remainder of Dill's term through 2016.

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