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Sieben wins re-election in Senate District 54; Quinlan says voters chose 'career politician'

Katie Sieben is headed back to the state Capitol - and to a Senate controlled again by her fellow Democrats.

Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, coasted to re-election Tuesday, winning 63-36 percent over Republican challenger Janis Quinlan. The unofficial election results gave Sieben 26,998 votes to Quinlan's 15,256.

Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, will serve a third term in the Senate, where she was first elected in 2006 after serving four years in the House. She has served in the Senate minority the past two years, but Democrats reclaimed the Legislature in Tuesday's election so Sieben and the DFL will be back in the majority beginning in January.

Quinlan, a realtor, was making her first bid for elected office. As election results rolled in showing her far trailing Sieben, Quinlan said voters decided to pick an entrenched incumbent over a newcomer.

"Apparently people are OK with career politicians and they don't understand that average people are the people who are supposed to be serving our country," Quinlan said.

In 2010 Quinlan campaigned for Sieben's Republican opponent, Karin Housley. When redistricting earlier this year put Housley outside the south Washington County district, Quinlan said Housley encouraged her to run.

Quinlan, of St. Paul Park, said voters expressed partisanship in their legislative picks.

"That means that they're left-wing ideologues, I guess," she said.

Sieben won in all but one of the 34 precincts. She and Quinlan tied at 241 votes apiece in an Afton precinct. Quinlan said she had hoped to perform better in and immediately around St. Paul Park.

Senate District 54 includes Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, part of South St. Paul, Hastings, Denmark Township, Afton, Grey Cloud Island Township and Nininger Township.

The Senate term is four years.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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