DFL keeps Senate seat

The victory moves Democrats closer to taking control of the Senate.

Karlee Weinmann

With control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance this election, Minnesotans chose DFL Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar as their next senator.

Klobuchar defeated Mark Kennedy to earn the seat vacated by fellow DFLer Mark Dayton, who announced last year he would not seek a second term.

With 74.4 percent of precincts reporting, Klobuchar led with 58.1 percent to Kennedy’s 37.9 percent. Independence party-endorsed candidate Robert Fitzgerald lagged far behind, with 3.3 percent.

This midterm election brought 33 contested senatorial seats, and Klobuchar’s victory moved Democrats one senator closer to the six net seats needed for the party to seize command of the Senate.

“I am truly humbled by the confidence and kindness you’ve shown to me throughout this campaign,” Klobuchar said in a speech Tuesday night. “Today I am honored to accept the support of the people of Minnesota.”

She continued, “Together with a Minnesota moral compass to guide us and the optimism of our state to guide us, we will bring a direction of change to Washington.”

Results as of 11:46 p.m. Tuesday

Michael Cavlan (Green Party) …….. .49 percent
Robert Fitzgerald (Independence) …….. 3.28 percent
Mark Kennedy (Republican) …….. 37.85 percent
Amy Klobuchar (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) …….. 58.08 percent
Ben Powers (Constitution Party) …….. .25 percent

Kennedy secured the GOP nomination in 2005, but Klobuchar has maintained more electorate support, according to polls conducted throughout the campaigns.

A Sept. 18 Star Tribune Minnesota poll indicated 50 percent of those surveyed supported Klobuchar, with 32 percent supporting Kennedy.

Poll results released by the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Nov. 1 showed Klobuchar having the support of 55 percent of voters surveyed, while Kennedy held 33 percent.

The poll had a 3.8 percent margin of error.

“Sometimes you’re out on a really windy day and no matter how hard you try with that umbrella, sometimes it just pops out backwards. I think it’s been one of those windy days,” Kennedy said.

The race between Kennedy and Klobuchar spurred national attention due to the hotly-contested nature of the seat when the two engaged in an accusatory debate on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Oct. 15.

The management of the war in Iraq and taxes were points of contention between the two, with each issuing sharp critiques of the other’s stances throughout their campaigns.

Student reaction

Political science senior Quinn Doheny has worked with Klobuchar’s campaign since May, processing incoming money and aiding in outreach efforts. He said he doesn’t think there’s a better candidate for the position than Klobuchar.

“She represents Minnesota: Minnesota values, Minnesota nice, fair play,” he said. “Everything that makes the state great – that’s Amy.”

Political science and journalism sophomore Joscelyn Cecchini, also vice-chairwoman of the College Republicans, said the loss wasn’t a shock.

“I think the Kennedy loss was predicted by the polls,” she said. “It’s a shame that the effort of his campaign didn’t come through, because it would have supported so many other candidates across the state at different levels.

“In the minds of voters, the war and the national issues are really what determined their vote at the local level.”

– Brian Kushida contributed to this report.