Paulsen prevails in 3rd district race

Republican candidate for U.S. Representative in the 3rd District speaks to supporters at the Republican convention Tuesday night at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington.

Paul Bangasser

Republican candidate for U.S. Representative in the 3rd District speaks to supporters at the Republican convention Tuesday night at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington.

Republican Erik Paulsen won MinnesotaâÄôs 3rd District of the U.S. House of Representatives in a close race. He will take the place of retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad. Paulsen earned 48.5 percent of the vote. DFL candidate Ashwin Madia had 40.9 percent, and Independence Party candidate David Dillon had about 10.6 percent with all the precincts reporting. Paulsen, 43, is a veteran of the Minnesota House of Representatives, serving as majority leader for a time. He ran with the endorsement of Ramstad, a popular Republican serving his last term for the 3rd district, which hasnâÄôt sent a Democrat to Congress since 1961. Madia, 30, graduated from the University of Minnesota and is a former Minnesota Student Association president. He also served as a lawyer for the Marines and was stationed in Iraq in 2005 and 2006. Ben Bowman, a former MSA president who was attending the GOPâÄôs election night party in Bloomington, said MadiaâÄôs candidacy proves that MSA has clout. âÄúMSA is the Petri dish of real life,âÄù he said. âÄúMSAâÄôs not just a place where people go to hang out.âÄù Madia attended a party in Osseo, Minn ., the town where he was raised. However, he did not address the crowd. Jim Skoog, a friend of Madia’s, said even though Madia lost the election, his campaign is still an inspiration to the everyday person. “A few years ago he was just a concerned constituent,” Skoog said. “He didn’t want to just complain, he wanted to do something.” The 3rd District race was one of the hottest and most competitive races in the country. Madia and Paulsen raised more than $2.3 million each for their campaigns, according to the most recent Federal Elections Commission filings in mid-October. Dillon raised almost $160,000, having contributed more than $122,000 himself. Polls throughout the campaign showed a seesaw of support for the candidates. The most recent, a SurveyUSA poll conducted Oct. 29-30, had Paulsen leading Madia 46-41. Dillion registered 10 percent. In early October, Madia held a three-point lead over Paulsen in another SurveyUSA poll. Dillon played a fairly substantial role in the race. The alumnus of the UniversityâÄôs Carlson School of Business said his candidacy served as more than a spoiler for the two major parties. “In this campaign cycle I saw lying on scale that I never thought I’d see,” Dillon said. “I’m telling you they’re both good guys, but I’ve never had a lower opinion of their two parties.”