■ Ruud defeats Stevenson, returns to Senate
Carrie Ruud of Breezy Point will return to the Minnesota Senate after being elected in 2002 and serving one term. The Republican-endorsed candidate was formerly mayor of Breezy Point.
On Tuesday, she won the Senate District 10 seat with 53.88 percent of the vote with 22,848 votes compared to DFLer Taylor Stevenson’s 45.96 percent of the vote with 19,490 votes.
It wasn’t so much a political comeback that was her motivation, she said, as it was the idea of helping the region by reducing business taxes and dedicating an existing stream of revenue for tourism.
“I just felt the need for good representation for this area with a focus on jobs and the economy,” she said.
The 60-year-old woman said she intended to seek a leadership position within the Senate Republican caucus, but declined to say which post.
“I think greater Minnesota needs to have a voice in leadership,” she said.
Ruud said she was honored the voters put their trust in her to represent them in St. Paul.
The new Senate District 10 includes Aitkin and Crow Wing counties.
For her opponent, the defeat was the second in two years after his loss to Sen. Paul Gazelka in 2010. Stevenson said he won Aitkin County but failed to hold his ground by losing every precinct in Baxter and one in Brainerd.
Stevenson, 24, said independent money expenditures against him of up to $100,000 forced him to fight an uphill battle in the last few weeks.
On Wednesday, Stevenson was back at work substitute teaching in the Brainerd School District.
“We said what we wanted to say,” Stevenson said. “I think we had a positive message. I have absolutely no regrets.”
He said he continues to believe politics can be an instrument for good and whether he is a part of that is not important.
He said he had no definite plans regarding politics in the future.
“I really kind of feel like a chapter in my life has ended and I’m getting out a pencil and writing a new one,” Stevenson said.