Close races in the state house and senate districts serving west Bloomington highlighted the local races in the 2012 election.
Two-term state Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina, lost in his bid to move to the Minnesota Senate as the District 49 senator. Melissa Franzen, D-Edina, defeated him. In an election where nearly 51,000 votes were cast, Franzen won by less than 3,000, garnering 26,893 votes. Downey finished with 24,045.
Franzen and Downey were vying to replace Sen. Geoff Michel, who did not seek re-election.
The house district serving western Bloomington also went to a Democrat. Paul Rosenthal, D-Edina, defeated Terry Jacobson, R-Bloomington, by about 1,700 votes in the House District 49B election.
Rosenthal was elected to the house in 2008 and served one term before being defeated by Rep. Pat Mazarol, who did not seek re-election.
Jacobson was appreciative of the support she received in coming up short, and said there is common ground amongst those supporting her and her challenger. “We heard many of the same messages from our DFL opponents as from our campaign – reducing taxes and regulation on small businesses, improving educational outcomes, reducing government spending and lowering property taxes,” according to Jacobson. “I hope they are sincere in working towards those goals.”
Senate District 50
Two house seats serving the remainder of Bloomington went to incumbents while the senate seat serving the rest of Bloomington went to a Bloomington School Board member.
Ann Lenczewski, D-Bloomington, will return to the house for an eighth term as the House District 50B representative, serving a district entirely within Bloomington. She won re-election by a margin of nearly 2-1 over Richard Bohnen, R-Bloomington. She received 14,800 votes, garnering more than 65 percent of the vote. Bohnen received 7,836 votes.
House District 50A, which includes the smallest geographic portion of Bloomington, went to Rep. Linda Slocum, D-Richfield, who easily outdistanced two challengers. Her 12,036 votes bested Craig Marston, R-Richfield, whose 5,864 votes accounted for about 30 percent of the vote. Independence Party candidate Joseph Koch received 1,439 votes.
Slocum, who will serve her fourth term, moved to House District 50A earlier this year due to redistricting, which had put her in the same house district as longtime Democrat Jean Wagenius, who was elected to her 14th term in the house.
The Senate District 50 race pitted a Bloomington City Council member against a Bloomington School Board member.
Boardmember Melissa Halvorson Wiklund, D-Bloomington, received more than 60 percent of the vote in the Senate District 50 election, defeating Bloomington City Councilmember Vern Wilcox, R-Bloomington.
Wiklund received 25,300 votes, more than 9,000 better than Wilcox. The DFL candidate will represent east and central Bloomington, as well as west and central Richfield, in the Minnesota Senate.
Bloomington’s congressional and county representation will remain with the incumbents.
Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen of Eden Prairie won re-election in the Third U.S. Congressional District race against Democratic challenger Brian Barnes of Edina.
Paulsen won with 58 percent of the 382,715 votes cast for the race.
A pair of Bloomington residents met in a David-versus-Goliath race for the Hennepin County District 5 seat, with Goliath winning easily.
Randy Johnson, first elected to the county board in 1978, will return once more, defeating challenger Jim Koepke. Johnson received more than 63 percent of the vote in winning re-election.
Johnson attributed his easy victory to “recognition of hard work over time.”
After more than three decades, he is eager to contribute his experience in addressing challenging issues that will face the county in the next two years, saying he wants to “keep the county on a fiscally disciplined course.”
On the horizon: “I’m going to be putting more time into health care issues,” he said, noting the county’s health care operations are transitioning to an accountable care organization under federal law.
Why does Johnson, 65, continue to serve on the county board? “I think Theodore Roosevelt captured it when he said, ‘far and away the best prize life has to offer is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.’
“I passionately believe that Hennepin County’s work is well worth doing.”