11:45 p.m. update: Schoen up over Lehrke in House District 54A raceDemocrats were hoping to reclaim a south Washington County legislative seat Tuesday night.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Democrats were hoping to reclaim a south Washington County legislative seat Tuesday night.
Early election results put DFLer Dan Schoen ahead of Republican Derrick Lehrke 55-39 percent with 13 of 15 precincts reporting. Schoen had 9,067 votes to Lehrke’s 6,023 votes.
Independence Party candidate Ron Lischeid of St. Paul Park trailed far behind at 7 percent, with 1,195 votes.
Schoen is a St. Paul Park resident and Cottage Grove police officer. Lehrke is a Cottage Grove City Council member. Both are making their first run for the Legislature in a seat left open after the retirement of first-term Rep. John Kriesel of Cottage Grove.
While watching election returns with District 54 Democrats at River Oaks Golf Course, Schoen said he was optimistic about his chances of heading to the Legislature, but declined to talk more about the race until all results were in.
Lehrke was tracking election returns at Park Place bar in St. Paul Park. He said he thought he would do better in precincts in his hometown of Cottage Grove.
Kriesel was the first Republican in many years to represent south Washington County. He opted against running for a second two-year term and endorsed Lehrke.
House District 54A includes part of Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, Grey Cloud Island Township and part of South St. Paul.