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Walz, Kline win re-election

Walz, Kline win re-election
Rep. Tim Walz shakes hands with supporters at the Olmsted County DFL party gathering at the Wicked Moose thanking them before heading back to Mankato.

There were no big surprises in southeastern Minnesota's congressional races, with both incumbents winning re-election on Tuesday night.

1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz soundly defeated Republican Allen Quist to win a fourth term. Walz won nearly 58 percent of the vote, compared to Quist's 42 percent, with 692 of 695 precincts reporting. 

"The message I heard on the campaign trail was compromise and get something done. I am under no illusion that this is a mandate on democratic policy. It's trying to figure out how to work across the aisle and get things done," the Mankato Democrat said.

Also winning re-election was 2nd District Republican Rep. John Kline. He successfully fought off a challenge from Eagan DFLer Mike Obermueller, despite new congressional district boundaries that made it lean less Republican. 

"It's very gratifying. It's a good solid win in what was frankly a very tough night — not only for my party, but also from my perspective for America," Kline said.


Neither Quist nor Obermueller could be reached for comment. Quist, a former state representative from St. Peter, sent an email thanking his supporters for their work.

"While we were not successful in the election, we were successful in getting our message out that we need to balance the federal budget, remove the impediments from small businesses, and repeal the marriage penalty that will make it impossible for many married couples to afford health insurance," he said in the email.

Quist beat state Sen. Mike Parry in the August primary after First District Republicans deadlocked over which candidate to endorse for the party's nomination. The St. Peter farmer sunk nearly half a million into his campaign, which made up the majority of his funding.

Both Walz and Kline agree that major challenges face them when they return to Washington, D.C. Chief among those is the so-called "fiscal cliff," which if it takes effect would lead to massive spending cuts and tax increases.

Walz said he will push for Congress to prevent automatic across-the-board cuts that are part of sequestration and work to pass a large deficit-reduction plan comparable to the Simpson-Bowles plan. He will also fight to get a farm bill passed and continue work on veterans issues.

Kline said he will focus on preventing big cuts to defense and intelligence spending from taking effect as part of sequestration, along with the large tax increases. As chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, he will also focus on replacing No Child Left Behind. But with Republicans in control of the House, and Democrats in charge of the Senate and White House, Kline said it's going to be hard.

"It's been pretty tough to move things in the past, and I expect it will still be tough," he said.

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