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Republican wins special election in Chisago County

Anne Neu is the new state representative for House District 32B.
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The votes are in the and the new state representative in Minnesota House District 32B is Republican Anne Neu.

A special election was held in Chisago County on Tuesday after former GOP Rep. Bob Barrett was ruled ineligible for re-election this past November by the Minnesota Supreme Court because he didn't live in the district.

The GOP will hold onto that seat after Tuesday's relatively close contest, with new Rep. Anne Neu taking 53.2 percent of the vote with 3,789 ballots cast, ahead of DFLer Laurie Warner who tallied 3,327 votes for 46.7 per cent, according to the Secretary of State.

The election drew national attention as it's the first Republican seat to be up for election since Donald Trump became president in January, and comes amid renewed vigor among Democratic party activists following a turbulent start to his tenure.

But Chisago County has historically leaned Republican – with 60 percent of residents voting for Trump during the national election – and KSTP reports former Rep. Barrett won with 56 percent of the vote in 2014.

Rep Neu's victory wasn't by as wide a margin, suggesting some Democratic gains, but the 42-year-old told the Star Tribune she felt her own conservative positions aligned with a large number of voters.

The newspaper notes the mother of five from North Branch backs expanding public funding for students at public, private and charter schools, abolishing MNsure, campaigned against abortion and is an advocate for lower taxes.

"I’m grateful to Chisago County residents for their support and trust to be their new voice in the legislature," she said in a statement to the Pioneer Press. "I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work with my House colleagues working to make health care more affordable, cut taxes for families, and build a budget that respects Minnesota taxpayers."

Her victory gives the Republicans a 20-seat majority in the Minnesota House.

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