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Voters elect state senators in two special elections

Associated Press

Voters in western Twin Cities suburbs and fast-growing Wright County picked two new state senators in special elections Tuesday.

Terri Bonoff, a Democrat and former Navarre Corp. executive, defeated Plymouth Mayor Judy Johnson. With all precincts reporting, Bonoff had 54 percent of the vote in Senate District 43, covering parts of Plymouth and Minnetonka. Johnson received 46 percent of the vote.

Amy Koch, a Republican family business owner, prevailed in a three-way contest in Senate District 19, stretching across the eastern two-thirds of Wright County from Delano to Clearwater.

With all precincts reporting, she received 52 percent of the vote, beating Democrat John Deitering and Del Haag, the Independence Party candidate. Deitering and Haag received 31 percent and 17 percent of the vote, respectively.

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The elections fill seats vacated by the resignations of Republican senators Mark Ourada and David Gaither. Ourada went to work for a national coal and rail group, while Gaither became Gov. Tim Pawlenty's chief of staff.

St. Cloud voters will fill two more empty seats -- one in the House, the other in the Senate -- in special elections on Dec. 27.

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