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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Interesting election results out of Watonwan County

  • Decades ago, it used to be Watonwan County was a predictably conservative, Republican County.

    That kind of Republican being close to what could be called the classic Eisenhower Republican.
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  • Decades ago, it used to be Watonwan County was a predictably conservative, Republican County.
        That kind of Republican being close to what could be called the classic Eisenhower Republican.  
        The dimensions of that kind of conservatism include conservative values, hard work, rugged independence, don’t borrow - or at least don’t borrow much, keep the government out of my business and keep the government from running deficits.
        The 2012 election suggests some adherence to those values and some interesting variations.
        The two constitutional amendments on the ballot produced some interesting results.
    ‘Amendment 1, The Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman’.
        It went down to defeat. Statewide it got an estimated 47.64% of the people voting yes.
        In the county the amendment got 63.54% of the people voting yes.
        The second constitutional amendment was, ‘Amendment 2, Photo Identification Required For Voting’.
        That also went down to defeat. Statewide it got 46.37% of people voting yes. In Watonwan County, it got a yes vote of 44.66%. That’s a lower yes vote than the statewide average on an amendment put on the ballot by a Republican Legislature.
        Were the County votes on the two amendments a reflection of traditional Republican values? Those values  being conservative social values on the first amendment and not spending money unnecessarily on the second amendment?
        We can’t know for sure why the votes broke that way, but it is an interesting result.
        Some of the national election results also make me wonder about political trends in the County. For President, Watonwan narrowly voted for Republican Romney. He got 48.96% of the vote and Obama got 48.45% of the vote.    
        There were more interesting results in the U.S. Senate and the First District Congressional race.
        Statewide, Senator Amy Klobuchar was reelected in a landslide getting 65.20% of the vote. In Watonwan County she got an even higher percent of the vote. She netted 67.57% of the County vote.
        There was a similar result in the race for  Congress. DFLer Tim Walz got 57.53% of the vote in the First Congressional District. He got an even larger margin in the County by winning 60.82% of the vote.
        At the state senate level, Republican Julie Rosen won reelection collecting 62.27% of Watonwan County’s vote, which is just slightly below her district wide total of 63.97%.
        It appears there was a lot of ticket splitting going on in this election. I take that as a good thing. Even in the context of a traditionally conservative environment, the voters of Watonwan County seem to be thinking about the issues and the candidates. Perhaps voters decisions are increasingly being made based on reasons not necessarily linked to the positions of one party.  
    Page 2 of 2 -     If voters think an incumbent has done a good job, it appears the people of Watonwan County will vote to return them to office regardless of their party affiliation.

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