MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesotans sent a woman to Congress for the first time in four decades while a Republican businessman toppled a four-term DFL incumbent.
Republican challenger Mark Kennedy edged Rep. David Minge in the southeastern 2nd District in a nail-biter that wasn't determined until early Wednesday morning.
Both candidates drew 48 percent, but Kennedy won by 577 votes. He had 141,184 votes compared to Minge's 140,607.
In the 4th District, Democrats maintained their 50-year lock on the St. Paul-based seat held by the late Rep. Bruce Vento with a win by state Rep. Betty McCollum, who will be the state's first congresswoman since Coya Knutson.
"Bruce Vento was a man of honor and dignity and I am honored to succeed him in Congress," McCollum, a former retail clerk, said in her victory speech.
"It's an overwhelming feeling to watch history happen," DFL Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge, president-elect of the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus, said of McCollum's victory.
McCollum defeated Republican Linda Runbeck and Independence Party candidate Tom Foley. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, McCollum had 48 percent, or 127,197 votes to Runbeck's 31 percent, or 81,282 votes. Foley had 21 percent, or 54,362 votes.
"We always knew it was going to be an uphill race," said Runbeck. Foley said voters are not yet used to voting for third-party candidates.
In the volatile 6th District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Luther turned back well-funded Republican challenger John Kline. Luther had 50 percent of the vote, or 155,338 votes, with 90 percent of precincts reporting. Kline had 48 percent, or 149,610 votes.
In other races:
--Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht defeated Democratic college professor Mary Rieder in the southeastern 1st District. With 51 percent of precincts in, Gutknecht led with 58 percent compared to 41 percent for Rieder.
--Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad defeated Minneapolis teacher Sue Shuff, a Democrat. With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Ramstad had 66 percent of the vote compared to 31 percent for Shuff.
--Democratic Rep. Martin Sabo defeated retired teacher Frank Taylor in the Minneapolis-based 5th District. With 40 percent of precincts reporting, Sabo had 68 percent of the vote. Taylor, a Republican, had 24, and Independence Party candidate Rob Tomich had 5 percent.
--Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson defeated Glen Menze, a Starbuck farmer making his first bid for office, in the state's northwestern 7th District. With 11 percent of precincts in, Peterson had 70 percent of the vote.
--Democratic Rep. James Oberstar, the dean of Minnesota's delegation, defeated computer programmer Bob Lemen, a former state representative. Oberstar had 80 percent of the vote with 9 percent of precincts reporting. Oberstar was first elected to the DFL-heavy 8th District in 1975.
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