State legislators keep seats in area House races

Election Day ended with victory for incumbent candidates in area races for the Minnesota House of Representatives. In the region, Rep. Chris Swedzinski, Rep. Joe Schomacker, and Rep. Rod Hamilton each held on to seats in the state Legislature.

Swedzinski, R-Ghent, said Tuesday that he appreciated area residents’ support.

“I want to thank them for their vote,” he said, and was looking forward to serving area residents for another term.

According to unofficial vote totals, Swedzinski received 10,854 votes in Tuesday’s election, while DFL challenger Tom Wyatt-Yerka, of Marshall received 5,198 votes.

Swedzinski represents Minnesota House District 16A, which includes Lac Qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, and parts of Lyon and Redwood counties. He was first elected as a state representative in 2010.

Schomacker, R-Luverne, said he also came away from the election with a positive feeling.

“I was really happy to see where we ended up yesterday,” he said. Schomacker said he believed he had a record of being able to get things done at the Legislature, and voters took that into account.

Schomacker will continue to represent House District 22A, which covers Lincoln, Murray, Pipestone and Rock counties as well as parts of Lyon and Nobles counties. Schomacker received an unofficial vote total of 10,811. DFL challenger Maxwell Kaufman, of Fulda, received 5,377 votes.

Schomacker has been a state representative since 2010.

In House District 22B, which covers Cottonwood County and parts of Redwood, Nobles and Jackson counties, Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, received an unofficial vote total of 9,757. DFL challenger Cheniqua Johnson, of Worthington, received 4,819 votes.

Hamilton was first elected as a state representative in 2004.

Swedzinski and Schomacker said there will be a different dynamic at the House, which flipped to Democratic control in Tuesday’s elections. Moving forward, Schomacker said, “The biggest thing is going to be the need to keep the region, and greater Minnesota, in people’s minds.” House seats in suburban areas caused the flip, and he said representatives from greater Minnesota will need to continue to be a strong voice for constituents.

Swedzinski said Tuesday that one of his goals for the upcoming state legislative session will also be to work to help bring Minnesota in conformity with federal tax reforms.

“Hopefully, we can do that right out of the gate,” Swedzinski said. He said he also plans to hold public town hall meetings before the session begins in January.