Republicans may have taken a beating elsewhere in the state and nation, but in State House District 10B, the Republicans held on to the seat.
Political newcomer Mark Murdock won handily over DFL candidate Tim Nieminen. Both ran spirited campaigns in East Otter Tail and Wadena Counties, but it was Murdock who collected the most votes.
Districtwide, Murdock collected 11,477 votes to 8,226 for Nieminen.
"Humbling" is how Murdock described the experience of campaigning one-on-one.
"It really gets you in the heart," said Murdock earlier in the campaign. "It's not an ego trip for me--I'm not that kind of guy. But with each day of contacts with people, I became more and more driven."
Murdock has always had an interest in politics, but was never "a card carrying member of the Republican party."
"But the party fits me for business reasons, for the beliefs I hold. It fits me better than the Democratic platform," said Murdock.
It was a whirlwind--in the form of Perham Republican activist Jon Staebler--that propelled him to run for Republican Dean Simpson's former seat.
"Yeah, I was strong-armed by Staebler," laughed Murdock, referring to big, persuasive, former wrestler who with his wife Betty, has been a dominant figure in local Republican politics for years.
As Murdock tells the story, he was called while in a fishing boat on June 17. Staebler ordered him to pull in the line and troll immediately to shore. The district endorsing committee was meeting at 6 p.m. By 8 p.m., Murdock was the State House District 10B candidate for the Republican party.
Now, he is Representative-elect Mark Murdock, and he'll be sworn into office in January in St. Paul.
Despite some Republican losses, including the presidency, Murdock said it is a good time to be a Republican.
"We can't grow business with higher taxes. We need to reform property taxes, because it is a regressive tax," said Murdock.
"We're feeling the backlash from Pres. Bush. The people want change, and that's what they'll get," continued Murdock. "That's democracy. If it doesn't work in the next four years, you vote somebody else in."