Weber, Hamilton, Schomacker win in District 22WORTHINGTON — Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh carried his own county, 4,322 votes to 4,071 for Bill Weber in Nobles County, but it wasn’t enough to send him to St. Paul as the District 22 state senator.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh carried his own county, 4,322 votes to 4,071 for Bill Weber in Nobles County, but it wasn’t enough to send him to St. Paul as the District 22 state senator.
Overall throughout the district, Weber carried 52.76 percent of the vote with 19,547 votes; Oberloh had 47.11 percent with 17,455 votes.
“I think the message that we had down here was the right message, and I think the people agree with it down here,” reflected Weber about his campaign.
As of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Republican Weber was waiting to see if he would be part of the majority or minority in St. Paul.
“A lot as to how we proceed will depend on that status,” Weber said.
As he anticipates assuming his seat in January, Weber will keep in mind the concerns he heard along the campaign trail.
“I think there is concern about the economy, about jobs, the best way to keep our economy strong and keep our young people here,” he said.
Weber also took note of concerns about education, particularly the moneys that the state sidelined from the school districts, as well as dealing with new Obamacare health care requirements and keeping the private sector represented in the process.
Meanwhile, Oberloh plans to refocus his energies back into city government.
“I’m still mayor for two years,” he said, adding that he has no plans to throw his hat into the ring for higher office in the future. “I will never do this again. Life is too short. I would never put my family through what we’ve been through again.”
District 22 was a particularly contentious race, with several entities sending out frequent mailings against Oberloh.
“The money and the power that is in this district and in Minnesota politics is big-money influences, with Republican backing,” he said.
While he carried Nobles County, Oberloh was particularly dismayed that he didn’t have stronger numbers in his hometown.
“I needed to take Worthington by a landslide, and I didn’t, and that’s probably the most disappointing thing,” he said. “Partisan politics is a funny thing, and this was definitely my last campaign.
“I’m going back to work tomorrow, and it’s just another day,” he concluded as he headed off to bed in the wee hours of the morning.
House District 22A
Republican Joe Schomacker of Luverne will return to St. Paul for a second term as the District 22A representative, fending off a challenge by Democrat Gene Short of Currie.
Schomacker received 11,554 (59 percent) votes to Short’s 8,004 (40.87 percent).
During the campaign season, Schomacker heard a couple of major concerns from his constituency.
“There’s definitely the concern about how we get jobs, especially out here, and what we need to do,” Schomacker said after he was assured of retaining his seat late Tuesday night. “That continues to need to be a focus, along with prioritizing our spending. I don’t think people are afraid of spending, they just want to know their money is being spent wisely and effectively, and I want to continue doing that. That’s how I can best serve the people of southwest Minnesota.”
House District 22B
Rod Hamilton, Republican from Mountain Lake, will get a fifth term in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Hamilton received 10,165 (60.06 percent) votes to Democratic challenger Cheryl Avenel-Navara’s 6,745 (39.85 percent).
Although it was his fifth campaign for the House seat, Hamilton said redistricting made this campaign season a bit different.
“So the district was different, and it was about getting out and meeting new people and visiting other parts more intensively,” he said. “What was helpful was not too long ago my children were in high school playing sports in a lot of these communities, so you go back there and know a lot of people.”
Hamilton also commended Avenel-Navara for her candidacy.
“I’d like to thank her for running a clean campaign, and I appreciated the dialogue,” he said. “She worked hard and was a worthy opponent, no question about it.”
As noted by the night’s other winners, some themes popped up all along the campaign trail.
“Hearing from constituents, the vast majority of the talk was about jobs and the economy, and we’re going to have to focus on that, putting people back to work,” Hamilton said. “Nursing homes, long-term care, caring for people with disabilities is always a priority — always has been and always will be, and of course, education is very important across the district, as it should be.
“And I’m not going to let up until Highway 60 is completed all the way to St. James,” he added. “So many people have worked hard on it for way too long.”