Goggin to proceed to Senate
Minnesota Senate candidate Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing, bested incumbent Matt Schmit, D-Red Wing, with a 54.24 percent lead in the race for District 21.
"It's a shock. You put in all the hard work and effort and it feels good to win this," Goggin said as his party at the Red Wing Golf Club wrapped up in the final hours of election night. "It wasn't for me, it was for the people of District 21. I just want to be their representative at the Capitol, and I want to make it a better place to live in southeastern Minnesota."
The Goggin family is best known locally for the work of Mike Goggin's late father and former Red Wing Shoe President Joe Goggin. Dave Murphy, the current president, credits his predecessor for building the company with the city's namesake into the global brand it is today.
Having graduated from the Gustavus Adolphus College with a degree in business, Mike Goggin also worked for Red Wing Shoe before pursuing an electrical engineering degree at the University of Denver.
He said problem-solving skills honed on the job with Xcel Energy illustrate the solution-based approach he will take as a legislator.
The senator-elect will spend Wednesday taking down yard signs before returning to work at the nuclear plant but said his first order of business in the Legislature will be addressing health care insurance reform — an issue he said played a key role in gaining voters' support.
"People realize that I have the skillset that's needed at the Capitol to solve the issues that we're facing, especially with health care," he said. "That's the biggest thing — we have to get that under control and get that taken care of. Right now, it's breaking the backs of a lot of people. We need to make sure people have health care and have access to affordable health care."
Conversation about solutions to Minnesota's health care crisis have flourished among candidates and voters in the weeks following Commerce Commissioner Mark Rothman's announcement that insurance policies in the individual market will rise 50 to 67 percent in the coming year.
Goggin has said he would support a plan to repeal and replace MNsure.
"The best way to lower health insurance premiums and give people more options is by waiving costly, one-size-fits-all federal mandates," he said in a Republican Eagle Q&A.
He also discussed working with federal representatives to address the state's health care struggles he attributes to the Affordable Care Act.
"We need to work with them to get them to understand what our state's going through and get that dialogue going, get that bipartisan work on there" to change the Affordable Care Act, he said at an October forum.
Despite campaigning with a significantly lower budget than the one-term incumbent, Goggin managed to rake in about $21,000 in individual contributions — about 30 percent more than his DFL opponent.
According to an expenditure report the Minnesota Finance & Public Disclosure Board released in October, Goggin maintained less than $2,000 cash-on-hand, while Schmit had a little over $19,000.
Goggin's campaign also spent significantly less money on advertising. The report indicated about $37,490 was dedicated to advertising, while Schmit spent nearly $49,000 on ads.
The biggest campaign push came in October; those numbers will not be released for several months. The race also generated mailers and ads from political action committees.
Goggin thanked the voters in District 21 — even those whose who didn't support him.
"I am going to represent everyone in the district, not just the people that voted for me, because we need to make sure we get good legislation up there that's in the best interest of everyone in the district and everybody in the state," he said. "I want to go up there and be the representative, be the public servant, be the voice for all the people of Senate District 21."
Final results for District 21 arrived after midnight, at which point Schmit could not be reached for comment.