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No. 8 Story of the Year: Dahle, Bly Return to the Legislature; Malecha, Gillen Re-elected to County Board

DFLer David Bly beat Republican Brian Wermerskirchen 57 percent to 43 percent in the House District 20B race. DFLer Kevin Dahle narrowly defeated Republican Mike Dudley.

As the end of the year approaches, Patch recaps the biggest stories of 2012—both in terms of pageviews and impact on the Northfield community. The following article was posted Nov. 6, 2012.

  • No. 12 Story of the Year: Northfield Hospital CEO Passes Away
  • No. 11 Story of the Year: Bagel Shop Coming to Downtown Northfield
  • No. 10 Story of the Year: Family Pleas for Stolen Photos of Children to Be Returned

Editor's note: The race between DFLer Kevin Dahle and Republican Mike Dudley went to a recount, which Dahle won.


Northfield's David Bly and Kevin Dahle are heading back to St. Paul.

Bly (DFL), who lost a re-election bid to the Minnesota House in 2010 by 37 votes, beat Republican Brian Wermerskirchen 57 percent to 43 percent on Tuesday in the House District 20B race.

Dahle's race was much closer, besting Republican Mike Dudley by 82 votes, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State's preliminary results, which were updated at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Around 1 a.m., MPR and WCCO reported that Dahle, a DFLer, had won by 332 votes (20,361 to 20,029).

Because the 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 will occur, 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.

    Read the full update on this race here.

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."

In the Rice County Board of Commissioner races, incumbent Galen Malecha won District 2 with nearly 61 percent of the vote. His challenger, Jeff Quinnell, received 38.56 percent of the vote. In District 1, incumbent Jake Gillen received 54.83 percent of the vote, besting challenger Kathleen Doran-Norton who received 44.83 percent of the vote. David Miller beat Carol King to be the new commissioner in District 3. Steve Bauer was unopposed in District 4. Incumbent Jeff Docken was re-elected to represent District 5 with 51.46 percent of the vote, beating Richard Cook.

In the Senate District 58 race, which includes the Northfield precinct in Dakota County, Republican Dave Thompson bested DFLer Andrew Brobston with 57.60 of the vote. Republican Pat Garofalo beat DFLer Jim Arlt nearly 60 percent of the vote in the House District 58B race.

All winners will be sworn into their respective offices in January.

The results are unofficial until verified by the canvassing boards.

You can also visit other pages on Northfield Patch to see:

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* Denotes incumbent Results are unofficial and updated as of 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

Rice County District 1

Precincts reporting: 11/11

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Kathleen Doran-Norton
2,377 44.83 Jake Gillen* 2,907 54.83 Write-in 18 0.34

Rice County District 2

Precincts reporting: 5/5

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Galen Malecha*
3,712 60.85 Jeff Quinnell 2,352 38.56 36 36 0.59

Rice County District 3

Precincts reporting: 2/2

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Carol King 1,460 35.01 David Miller 2,689 64.48

Rice County District 4

Precincts reporting: 3/3

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Steve Bauer*
4,100 98.65 Write-in 56 1.35

Rice County District 5

Precincts reporting: 10/10

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Richard Cook
3,125 48.02 Jeff Docken* 3,349 51.46 Write-in 34 0.52

Senate District 20

Precincts reporting: 46/46

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Kevin Dahle (D)
20,628 50.04 Mike Dudley (R) 20,546 49.84 Write-in 53 .013

House District 20B

Precincts reporting: 25/25

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes David Bly (D)
11,700 56.91 Brian Wermerskirchen (R) 8,839 42.99 Write-in 20 0.10

Senate District 58

Precincts reporting: 39/39

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Andrew Brobston (D)
17,684 42.28
Dave Thompson (R) 24,094 57.60
Write-in 49 0.12

House District 58B

Precincts reporting: 27/27

Candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Jim Arlt (D)
8,510
40.44
Pat Garofalo (R) 12,517
59.47
Write-in 19 0.09

All results were obtained from the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.

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