Barb Haley takes 21A
Republican Barb Haley emerged as the winner of the highly watched race for Minnesota House of Representative District 21A.
Haley defeated Democrat Lisa Bayley by receiving 9,387 votes — 55.94 percent of those cast, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office. Bayley earned 7,370 votes or 43.92 percent. There were 23 write-ins.
Haley, a Red Wing native and former AT&T executive, will take over the seat of Rep. Tim Kelly, who did not seek re-election.
"This is an unbelievable feeling," Haley said. "I can't thank the voters enough for putting their trust and confidence in me."
Haley's campaign focused on reducing health care costs, supporting local business with reduced taxes and less regulation, establishing responsible policies for farming communities and supporting education.
Expenditure reports from the Minnesota Finance and Public Disclosure Board released in October show Haley's campaign retained about $16,300 in cash while Bayley's held around $13,100. The report also indicated Haley spent nearly $35,000 on advertising, while Bayley spent over $41,000.
Both campaigns estimated that outside interests — namely political action committees of all sorts — pumped tens of thousands into mailers, internet ads and other campaign materials.
Bayley, a former criminal prosecutor in Hennepin County and Wabasha County, operates her private practice, Bayley Law, in Red Wing. She has served two terms on the Red Wing City Council.
"I am obviously disappointed but respect the voters' decision. It looks like we're part of a broader trend here," Bayley said. "I certainly think Barb will do a good job and wish her the best."
Throughout the District 21A race, both candidates spoke to their dedication to running a clean and positive campaign, even though outside money drew up attacking advertisements.
"I talked to Lisa and thanked her for running such a positive and respectful campaign," Haley said. "Especially in this campaign cycle, it was important for us both as mothers to show it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable and I'm proud of that."
Haley said winning the race has been extremely humbling.
"I feel an incredible responsibility to get to work for this district," she said.
In District 21B, incumbent Republican Steve Drazkowski won 70.06 percent of the votes, with 9,387. Drazkowski was first elected in 2007.
He has faced no close contest while in office. Democratic challenger Elise Diesslin had 2,138 for 29.87 percent. There were five write-ins.