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Incumbent Dems hold on in Minnesota statewide races

ST. PAUL - In three non-governor statewide races in Minnesota, incumbent attorney general and secretary of state Democrats won with vote percentages in the mid-to-upper 50s and the race remained close for auditor.

Of the three races, the most combative remained competitive Tuesday night: Republican Pat Anderson trying to regain the state auditor's office from Democrat Rebecca Otto, who won it four years ago. Otto led 52 percent to 43 percent with 43 percent of precincts reporting.

Otto accused Anderson of making mathematical mistakes when she was auditor. Anderson said Otto was too chummy with local government officials she was supposed to audit.

In the secretary of state race, incumbent Democrat Mark Ritchie won election to a second term, reminding voters that his handling of the controversial 2008 U.S. Senate race gained widespread praise. Republican opponent Rep. Dan Severson said Ritchie made lots of mistakes two years ago and that requiring Minnesotans to show a photo identification card before voting would reduce voter fraud.

Incumbent Democrat Attorney General Lori Swanson did little campaigning, but won big. Republican Chris Barden accused Swanson of running a disorganized and scandal-ridden office.

"The mission of my administration the next four years will be the same as it has been the last four years and that's to make sure ordinary everyday Minnesotans have a friend and an ally in the attorney general's office," Swanson said in her victory speech.

Well-known Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, a former Vikings football star, beat Tim Tingelstad of Bemidji for the second time. And Justice Helen Meyer held off Greg Wersel, who has fought all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court to allow political parties access to judicial campaigns.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.