RED WING — U.S. Rep. Angie Craig declared victory in the race to keep her 2nd Congressional District seat against Republican challenger Tyler Kistner.

The DFLer took to Facebook Live at 10 a.m. Wednesday to declare victory and thank her family and supporters.

Her statements leaned heavily on bipartisanship, recognizing the district’s suburban-rural divide while insisting residents have more similarities than differences.

“I love this district — it’s rural, it’s ex-urban, it’s suburban and it’s a little bit urban,” Craig said. “And that is the diversity of America; that is the diversity of our district.”

Craig called on the country to rally around combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and, by extension, helping small businesses.

“Because we will have an economy that needs to be rebuilt,” she said. “And I believe, and I know, that we can come together and we can do this.”

Craig was up 48 percent to Kistner’s 46 percent — a difference of just over 9,000 votes — with all precincts reporting, according to preliminary totals on the Secretary of State website. Vote totals are unofficial until canvassed.

Kistner issued a statement afterward saying the race was too close, noting it was not known how many ballots were still outstanding.

“We owe it to the voters who waited for hours to cast their ballots before making any final judgements on this race. My team is working diligently to get the most up to date information. We have and will continue to respect the process,” the statement read.

The 2nd Congressional District covers parts of southeastern Minnesota, including Goodhue, Dakota and Wabasha counties.

The race for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd District was mired in controversy throughout the general election.

The upheaval began when Legal Marijuana Now candidate Adam Weeks, 38, died unexpectedly on Sept. 21, three days after early voting began in Minnesota. The rural Red Wing man’s death triggered a 2013 state law that said the contest would be decided in a special election in February.

Craig sued Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon in hopes of forcing the state to proceed with the Nov. 3 election. On Oct. 9, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit and said the election would go on as scheduled.

Kistner appealed the decision, but an appeals court on Oct. 23 declined to suspend the election. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied Kistner’s appeal.

Weeks earned 6 percent of the vote.

Most of the other Minnesota incumbents cruised to easy victories Tuesday night.

Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips along with Republicans Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber all posted convincing wins. In a much closer race, GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who represents portions of southern Minnesota led his challenger by a 49-46 percentage point margin.

The lone incumbent to lose was Rep. Colin Peterson, a Democrat first elected in 1990 to Congress. He lost his western Minnesota seat to former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, a Republican.

This includes information from the Pioneer Press.

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