LIVE BLOG: Election Night 2012 in Northern Minnesota

You might think this is a liquor store making a strong political
endorsement, but no. This is Hibbing DFL headquarters,
built inside the bones of a recently defunct liquor store.

Polls in Minnesota and across the nation have closed. I’ll report election results and behind-the-scenes information from my sources across northern Minnesota throughout the evening and into the night.

Open this post in a new window and refresh your browser to see updates here. I’ll share MPR and The Uptake news feed coverage here. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook to get first access to MinnesotaBrown Election Night 2012 coverage.

OUR UNIVERSE THIS EVENING (Projected winners in BLUE):

  • U.S. President: Barack Obama (D) vs. Mitt Romney (R) (Minnesota: O vs. R)
  • U.S. Senate: Amy Klobuchar (DFL) vs. Kurt Bills (R)
  • Congress, MN-8: Rick Nolan (DFL) vs. Chip Cravaack (R)
  • SD5: Tom Saxhaug (DFL) vs. John Carlson (R)
  • HD5A: John Persell (DFL) vs. Larry Howes (R)
  • HD5B: Tom Anzelc (DFL) vs. Carolyn McElfatrick
  • Marriage Limiting Amendment: Yes vs. No
  • Photo ID Voting Amendment: Yes vs. No
  • HD6A Carly Melin; HD6B Jason Metsa, HD3A David Dill, SD5 Tom Bakk; SD6 David Tomassoni
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney hold last-minute debate
at Hibbing Community College yesterday. Or maybe
this is the All-State spokesman and Mike Dukakis?
Photo: Miriam Kero

1:51  Both amendments fail! Voter ID was just a bad idea, but Marriage Amend. was cruel. Glad for both to go down.

Meantime, an unmitigated DFL victory in Minnesota. I’m still not able to call my race, but I’ll wrap up the live blog knowing that 5B, too, is likely to go DFL. If I’m wrong Republicans will have something to hold over me.
1:20 Holy cow. Rep. Chip Cravaack is about to concede the race for MN-8 to Rick Nolan. Projections to come, Rick Nolan is the next congressman from Minnesota’s 8th District.

1:16 The SD5/HD5A/HD5B haven’t been called yet, but all are figured into the calculations that give the projected DFL majorities in the House and Senate. I think Sen. Tom Saxhaug and Rep. John Persell (5A) are sure things. I am further convinced that my candidate, Rep. Tom Anzelc (5B), who still has several big precincts in Grand Rapids left, will also win, completing the DFL sweep. Let’s call it a 90 percent call.

12:38 Nolan has carried Ely by 10 percent, according to Tom Coombe. This is not as good as the DFL usually does here, but Cravaack really thought he could win here over mining issues. Nolan campaign is pushing internal numbers showing them outperforming Oberstar’s 2010 numbers, enough for a narrow win. We wait.

12:05 DNT reports that with Duluth and the Iron Range largely unreported, Rick Nolan has 4 percent lead in MN-8. This does not bode well for Cravaack.

12:02 As Mitt Romney conceded defeat on TV, I’m looking at these MPR results and DFLers lead across the board in northern Minnesota. Still a lot of votes to count, but in SD 5 “incum-off” most of them are in towns where DFL have advantage or Ojibwe communites where they have BIG advantage. Nothing official, but I’d be optimistic the DFL will take SD5 races.

11:47 Most of St. Louis County, including much of Duluth, still not factored into SOS totals on MN-8. That will help Nolan. Many rural precincts all over the place will come in for Cravaack. Still expect a close race. No one is breaking away.

11:16 The numbers people for Jason Metsa (DFL) in House 6B report that Metsa has convincingly defeated Jesse Colangelo (R). Not unbiased source, but they have large poll watching crew that beats the SOS reports. Rick Nolan will carry the Range, but there are questions as to whether it’s by enough. Congratulations to Rep.-elect Jason Metsa, successor to Tom Rukavina.

11:10 MPR is reporting with 30 percent in, Tom Saxhaug (DFL) leads John Carlson (R) by about 5 percent.

11:04 Numbers are very hazy now, but MPR is doing a nice job reporting results as the SOS site seems to be having some problems. I think some of these northern races will be clarified in about an hour.

10:49 Finally getting some numbers in my “home” race in District 5B. McElfatrick (R) is leading Anzelc (DFL) by a couple hundred votes, but virtually all of the precincts are rural townships where she would need to do better. No cities in yet, and we have a sense that Anzelc will do very well there.

10:16 President Barack Obama has been re-elected.

10:01 MinnPost has a fine results dashboard for statewide results, including status of state legislature.

I’m still in the dark here in Itasca County, where no returns have been reported in the crucial SD5 and HD5B races.

9:44 Looks like the Duluth legislative seats are all staying strongly DFL: Sen. Roger Reinert, Rep. Tom Huntley (7A) and new Rep.-elect Erik Simonson, who has easily fended off the drama and write-in challenge in that race.

9:20 Forgot to mention this, but Morse Township went for Rick Nolan in MN-8, 398-373. A battleground precinct over the issue of nonferrous mining.

9:08 A scattered report of the Marriage Amendment failing in at least two precincts in the city of Virginia on the Range. If Amendment goes 50/50 on the Range it will fail.

8:54 ABC is calling Minnesota for President Obama.

Northern Minnesota reports will be very slow tonight. The SOS has very little and I would expect a late night regardless of the outcome.

8:28 Sources tell me that turnout on Minnesota’s Ojibwa reservations is expected to break records set in 2008. Motivation was beating Voter ID, but side effect is boost to Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL) in SD5 and Rep. John Persell (DFL) in HD5A.

8:22 WDIO has Nolan up 69-31% in what look to be Duluth precincts. That’s a lot, but Nolan needs at least that much to win.

8:02 And out the gate, AP calls the MN-SEN race for Sen. Amy Klobuchar. No surprise there.

Turnout around the Range and points nearby has been robust today. Duluth will report extra slow tonight, though, because of the write-in votes in 6B. That will likely push the results of the MN-8 race into the overnight hours.

8:00 Polls have closed in Minnesota. I’ll try to draw some local reports soon. The SOS site will begin posting returns within the hour.


NOTE: is the work of Aaron J. Brown, an author, teacher and radio producer from the Iron Range. Like what you see? Subscribe. Read “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range,” a humorous creative nonfiction book exploring the honor and folly of a new century of Iron Range culture. And stay tuned for another edition of the Great Northern Radio Show, written, produced and hosted by Brown, on Saturday, Dec. 15 live from Bigfork on KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio.


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