Incumbents win in 62A and 54A elections

In the past Republican Orlando Ochoada would cut his hair just before an election, and his favorite candidates would lose. For his race in District 62A, he let his hair grow in hopes it would help turn his luck. But he still lost handily to 20-year incumbent representative Lee Greenfield.
At press time, Greenfield held a four-to-one advantage on votes that had been counted, though some precincts experienced problems with their balloting machines, which would cause delays. District 62A covers the Minneapolis campus and parts of northeast Minneapolis.
In District 54A, DFL incumbent Mary Jo McGuire retained her seat over Kim Nelson in the state House of Representatives. At press time, McGuire reigned in 53 percent of the votes in the district, which covers the St. Paul Campus, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale and the western part of Roseville.
Voter turnout was above average, which generally is a boost for the Democrats, McGuire said. One of her campaign workers called her from a polling location and said there was a long line of voters.
Literature exploded around her district from both sides during the last two weeks, McGuire said, adding that more literature confuses the voters.
But Nelson said the voters deserve to know what the candidates stand for.
“We’re all about getting the facts out,” Nelson said. “We had no other goal.”
Greenfield’s victory showed a wider disparity than McGuire’s win.
Greenfield stood with a plastic glass of wine in the Communication Workers of America building in south Minneapolis, watching returns on the television.
“I hardly saw any of my opponents advertising,” he said. “I didn’t start really campaigning until two weeks ago.”
He said the voter turnout was high in his district, with lines all day at the Seward neighborhood polling place.
Health care is big on his agenda for his next term. He said he wants to get more funding for nursing home workers.
“Nurse’s aides were getting paid less than McDonald’s workers,” Greenfield said.
Theoretically, Ochoada had a chance to win if Jesse Ventura voters showed up and registered, Ochoada said. His theory is that they would not vote for the incumbents.
But he had not anticipated winning, since Greenfield was a 20-year incumbent. He said the reason he entered the race was because the original Republican candidate switched to independent, and Ochoada stepped in just to raise the number of Republican votes tallied statewide.
Although he didn’t win in this election, he said he wouldn’t rule out running in the 2000 elections.