Davids, Miller reelected, but
now find themselves in minority
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 4:10 AM
Voters in the area reelected Rep. Greg Davids and Sen. Jeremy Miller by healthy margins, but the two Republicans will find themselves in the minority when they return to the Capitol in January as both the House and Senate in Minnesota flipped from Republican to DFL control as a result of the statewide vote last week.
Davids beat DFL challenger Ken Tschumper with 58.2 percent of the vote in District 28B. He carried every precinct in Fillmore County except Holt Township, Lanesboro, Mabel and Peterson.
Miller polled 57.1 percent of the vote in the district against Jack Krage. He carried all precincts in Fillmore County except Canton Township, Lanesboro, Mabel, Newburg Township and Peterson.
Davids said he was pleased with the way the vote went in his district, which now includes his former home. He said voters responded to his message of turning a shortfall into a surplus, working with both sides of the aisle and prioritizing state budget issues to aid areas such as K-12 education and public safety.
"We worked very, very hard and we were very pleased with the results," said Davids. He added that he was "blessed" with a good group of volunteers, adding "you know, you don't do it by yourself."
As far as the statewide results that changed the House from a 72-61 Republican majority to a 73-61 DFL majority, Davids feels the constitutional amendments on the ballot hurt the Republicans, particularly in the second and third ring suburbs, where his party lost a lot of seats. They "brought out a lot of folks to defeat those" and they likely didn't support Republican candidates, he said.
"The people are always right; the people have spoken," said Davids.
In his 20-year legislative career, he has spent 10 years as part of the majority and 10 years as part of the minority. He said he prefers the majority, but has no problem working in the minority.
He has established a good relationship with the other side of the aisle, he said, citing the Minnesota House Taxes Committee that he was chairman of for the past two years. He noted the committee always heard DFL provisions first.
"They've seen that I have been able to operate in a very bipartisan way as tax chair," he said.
Although he has operated as a member of the minority party previously, the new alignment will be "unfamiliar territory" as this will be the first time in his legislative career in which both branches and the governor are all controlled by one party. When one party controls too much, there is a tendency for overreach, something he has seen in the past from both parties.
However, his take on comments from the new majority leaders is that they will take a cautious approach, realizing that the governor's tax plan "won't fly in this fragile economy." He says he intends to work with the majority party and "hope to do some good things for southeastern Minnesota" during the next two years.
"You have to build relationships," he said. "They will pay off in the end."
Miller's second term
Miller said it's an honor to be reelected to serve the people of Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties in District 28.
"Our win is the result of working hard, working together and getting things done for our district and the state of Minnesota," said Miller.
Miller was first elected two years ago when Republicans took control of both chambers of the Legislature for the first time in 40 years. However Tuesday's election reversed that as the Senate went from 37-30 Republican to 39-28 DFL as a result of voting last week.
Miller said the turnaround won't change his approach much as he will continue to listen to the people and work together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get things done.
"It's not good for any party, Democrat or Republican, to have complete control of the Legislature and governor's office," said Miller. "It's important to have checks and balances, but the reality is Minnesota now has one party in full control. The good news is that the state of Minnesota is in much better financial and economic position today compared to two years ago."
He pointed out that in less than two years, the state went from a budget deficit of more than $6 billion to a budget surplus of more than $1 billion. The state's unemployment rate dropped from more than 7 percent to under 6 percent.
"This is the result of being fiscally responsible, reforming state government, and promoting policies that encourage job growth and economic development," said Miller.
He said his priorities for the 2013 legislative session are jobs and the economy, fiscal responsibility and education, noting that he will also continue to support senior citizens, veterans and the most vulnerable.
Incumbents also fared well at the federal level as local voters nearly mirrored the state in supporting President Barack Obama, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tim Walz.
A total of 52.5 percent of Fillmore County voters supported Obama, which is just shy of the 52.6 percent support he had statewide in Minnesota. His strongest support was in the eastern and southern portions of the county.
Klobuchar had the support of 64.7 percent of Fillmore County voters, which compares to her 65.2 percent mark statewide. She didn't lose a single precinct in the county.
Walz polled better in Fillmore County with 61.2 percent of the vote than the rest of District 1, where he had 57.5 percent of the vote. Only Fillmore and Jordan townships failed to give him a majority in Fillmore County.
Voters in Minnesota shot down both constitutional amendments on the ballot. This was the only item on the ballot in which Fillmore County voters didn't mirror the state.
The marriage amendment, which was voted down statewide with just 47.7 percent support, was supported by 56.9 percent of the voters in Fillmore County. All precincts in the county except Harmony, Lanesboro and Peterson favored the measure.
The amendment also failed in the city of Chatfield, which had more yes votes than no votes, and Carrolton Township, where voters evenly split between yes and no votes. The vote totals in these two precincts fell below the 50 percent threshold because a small number of voters didn't vote on this issue, meaning their votes counted as a no vote. In voting on constitutional amendments, yes votes are taken as a percentage of the entire number of voters, even those who didn't cast a vote on the issue.
The most support was in Fillmore Township at 72.6 percent. Lanesboro was at the other extreme with just 37.9 percent in favor.
The county followed the state trend in the voter ID amendment, voting it down with just 36.7 percent of the voters supporting it, less than the 46.4 percent it received statewide. The only precinct in Fillmore County that had a majority of yes votes was Sumner Township, where 52.5 percent of the voters favored it. Fewer than a third of voters in Amherst Township, Bristol Township, Harmony Township, Lanesboro, Newburg Township, Norway Township and York Township supported this measure.
An estimated 90 percent of the registered voters in Fillmore County participated in the election last Tuesday. The percentage of voters compared to eligible voters in the county is unknown, but the secretary of state's office estimates that it is 76.1 percent statewide, again making the turnout in Minnesota one of the highest, if not the highest, in the nation.