MOORHEAD — In a race that saw two Moorhead neighbors running against each other, Democrat Heather Keeler on Tuesday, Nov. 3, defeated Republican Edwin Hahn for the Minnesota House District 4A seat being vacated by Rep. Ben Lien, D-Moorhead, who did not run for reelection.
Meanwhile, longtime lawmaker and DFL incumbent Kent Eken, Twin Valley, defeated Republican challenger Mark Larson, Hawley, for the Minnesota District 4 Senate seat.
The state Senate District 4 and the state House District 4A include the city of Moorhead and Oakport Township.
In final but unofficial results, Keeler had 57% of the vote to Hahn's 42% with 18,436 votes cast.
"I feel really humbled and honored to be able to represent Moorhead. I'm so proud of Moorhead and excited to move on to the next step," Keeler said by phone Tuesday.
Keeler and Hahn, who live near each other in Moorhead, ran friendly campaigns and Keeler said that approach was intentional.
"It teaches the people in our community how we might see things a little bit different, but being kind to each other should be how we move through life, really." Keeler said.
Keeler is an educator and an assistant director for multicultural recruitment at North Dakota State University. Her campaign focused on investing in educational equity, providing quality health care for all and expanding affordable housing.
Hahn campaigned for the state House seat on a platform of steering state tax dollars to Moorhead for roads, underpass projects and revitalizing downtown.
The House seat carries a two-year term and a salary of $45,000.
In final but unofficial results, Eken had 54% of the vote to Larson's 46% with 42,760 votes cast.
Eken was first elected to the state House in 2002 and kept the seat until the redistricting that followed the 2010 election, after which he moved to the state Senate, where he won two terms in Senate District 4.
Eken has said his accomplishments in the Legislature included the recently passed bonding bill that provides the full $62 million requested to fund the construction of a railroad underpass at 11th Street in Moorhead.
Larson, owner/operator of an industrial coating company, had stated his political goals included reforming the vehicle tax and cutting property taxes for farmers.
The Senate seat carries a salary of $45,000 and has a two-year term because the election year ends in a "0."
Clay County Soil & Water Conservation District posts were also on the ballot Tuesday.
In District 1, challenger Robert Anderson, with 55% of the vote, defeated incumbent Richard Menholt, who had 44% of the vote with 24,040 votes cast in final, but unofficial totals.
In District 2, incumbent Carol Schoff was the lone candidate on the ballot with 23,831 votes, while incumbent Joel Hildebrandt, the lone candidate in District 5, received 23,799 votes in final but unofficial results.
Supervisors serve four-year terms. They don't receive a salary, but they are compensated for attending meetings and they are reimbursed for expenses.