UPDATED: Dahle, Dudley Race Triggers Automatic Recount
Republican Mike Dudley, who was defeated by 82 votes, is weighing his options when it comes to the recount.
Northfield's Kevin Dahle is heading back to St. Paul—maybe.
Dahle, the DFL-endorsed candidate for Senate District 20, narrowly defeated Republican Mike Dudley by 82 votes in Tuesday's election, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State's preliminary results, which were updated at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Because the new vote totals are within one-half of 1 percent of each other (50.04 percent for Dahle and 49.84 percent for Dudley), an automatic recount is triggered, according to Minnesota statute.
However, according to statute, a losing candidate may waive a recount by filing a written notice of waiver with the canvassing board.
When reached by phone Wednesday morning, Dudley said he's weighing his options.
"The state's in enough financial trouble," he said, saying he didn't know if he wanted to add to that burden.
Dudley said as the results are—and should they not change if a recount happens—the people elected who they wanted.
"I think it's fair to say that the conservative values for which I stand for are not finding favor with voters nationwide and statewide and that's what elections are all about," he said. "The fact that mine was significantly closer does not change that fact that my conservative values obviously put me out of step with most people.
"Minnesotans have finally spoke with a clear voice about what kind of government they want and this is a favorite quote of mine: 'Life isn't always fair but politics is far.' People always get the government they deserve."
Minnesota DFLers had a strong night on Tuesday, throwing their support behind President Barack Obama, easily winning a re-election bid for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, unseating Republican Congressman Chip Cravaak, and taking control of both the Minnesota House and Senate.
The tentative date established for the recount is Nov. 28, according to Rice County Auditor Fran Windschitl. The date needs to be finalized with the Secretary of State.
A numbers game
Dahle said he was surprised to wake up Wednesday morning to see his lead, which was reported to be the unofficial result when he went to sleep, had dwindled from 332 votes to 82.
As for the automatic recount—should Dudley go ahead with it—Dahle said that's the process.
"I'm glad I'm on the positive end of that, of course," Dahle said.
With the former Senate District 25 changing to Senate District 20 for this election cycle, the district gained parts of Scott County, where Dudley performed well in but Dahle made gains in Le Sueur County, which tends to lean Republican.
Both Northfield's Senate and House races tend to be close each cycle, which is something Dahle doesn't expect to see change in the foreseeable future.
As for Tuesday night's excitement, Dahle said as the night dragged on he and his supporters thought a win was within reach, but didn't know for sure until WCCO reported what was thought to be final preliminary numbers just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
When those numbers were announced, the group of 20 or so people at Carbone's Pizza & Sports Bar erupted into cheer, quickly followed by Dahle embracing every person there and thanking them.
"We are winners," Dahle said enthusiastically to his group. "We are going to represent Senate District 20! ... I don't feel great for myself. I feel great for everyone who came and volunteered and helped."
Dahle, as an incumbent senator, lost a close race in 2010 to Republican Al DeKruif in what was then known as Senate District 25.
"It feels so much better to win an election," he told Patch. "I never thought it'd be that close. It's really a tough district."
Shawn Groth, chair of the Rice County DFL Party and Senate District 20 DFL, said he thought Bly could pull out the win, but expected a tight race between Dahle and Dudley.
"I'm ecstatic that we have both David and Kevin back in the Legislature," he said. "And we'll work on keeping them there."
All results are unofficial until verified by a canvassing board.
Senate District 20
Precincts reporting: 46/46
|Candidate||Number of votes||Percentage of votes|
|Kevin Dahle (D)
|Mike Dudley (R)||20,546||49.84|