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Westrom, McNamar win seats in state legislature

MORRIS - Stevens County residents elected a new face to the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 12A, but went with a familiar face to represent them in the Minnesota Senate in District 12.

Democrat Jay McNamar narrowly beat Republican Scott Dutcher in the race for District 12A, taking 10,092 votes to Dutcher's 9,837 votes. Independence Party candidate Dave Holman had 1,305 votes.

In the race for Senate District 12, voters elected to support Rep. Torrey Westrom, a representative for the area for the last 16 years who will be up to the senate.

Westrom handily beat his opponent, Democrat John Schultz, taking more that 61 percent of the vote in the district.

Minnesota 7th District Congressman Collin Peterson was also reelected over Republican challenger Lee Byberg, while U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar handily won reelection over her opponent, Kurt Bills.

According to the Minnesota Secretary of State's office, Stevens County had 6,219 voters registered on election day, with a total of 5,683 estimated voters. Across Stevens County, 1,240 people registered on election day, 922 in precincts in the City of Morris alone.

Deputy Auditor/Treasurer Deb Brunko said a record number of absentee ballots, 447, were returned by voters this year as well. The high number of absentee ballots delayed when unofficial results could be reported Tuesday night.

Although nearly all 26 precincts in Stevens County had delivered their vote totals to the Auditor/Treasurer's office by about 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday, the results were not announced to the public through the Minnesota Secretary of State's website until absentee ballots were counted and reported for each precinct.

Minnesotans also faced votes on two constitutional amendments - one to ban gay marriage and the other to require a photo ID for voting. Although both amendments missed the needed majority to pass state-wide, the marriage amendment would have passed in Stevens County.

Overall, almost 56 percent of voters in Stevens County voted "yes" on the marriage amendment, casting 3,293 "yes" votes to 1,847 "no" votes. There were only 87 estimated blanks, which essentially also counted as a "no" vote.

In contrast, only about 43 percent of Stevens County voters were in favor of the photo ID amendment. Voters cast 2,433 "yes" votes to 3,178 "no" votes and 72 blanks.