Challenger edges longest-serving woman in Minnesota Legislature by 35 votes, triggers automatic recount

Duluth's Natalie Zeleznikar unseated Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, in House District 3B by margin of 50.01%-49.85%, according to unofficial results.

people talking with candiadates
Natalie Zeleznikar, center, Minnesota House District 3B candidate, looks at results with Karen Bonniwell, left, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and Nancy Loudon of Maple Plain, Minnesota, at Black Woods Event Center on Tuesday in Proctor.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

DULUTH — Just 35 votes edged Natalie Zeleznikar, a Republican from Duluth, over Rep. Mary Murphy, the longest-serving female legislator in Minnesota, in the House District 3B race, according to unofficial results Wednesday morning, Nov. 9.

Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, also the second-longest-serving legislator in the state, has held the seat since 1976.

Mary Murphy
Mary Murphy

Zeleznikar received 10,812 votes (50.01%), while Murphy had 10,777 (49.85%), according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office.

According to the Minnesota secretary of state , the race falls within the parameters of a publicly funded recount.

"I'm just committed to the process that every legal vote counts and I'm confident in the strength of our campaign. It's a testament to how hard we worked the last eight months," Zeleznikar said.


District 3B includes Two Harbors and other unorganized territories in Lake County; Proctor; Rice Lake; Hermantown; and the following St. Louis County townships: Alden, Ault, Canosia, Duluth, Fairbanks, Fredenberg, Gnesen, Grand Lake, Lakewood, Midway, Normanna, North Star, Pequaywan and Solway.

Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

Send her story tips, feedback or just say hi at
What To Read Next
A 50-year-old Red Wing woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder related to leaving her new born infant boy in the Lake Pepin as part of a plea deal.
The CROWN Act adds natural hairstyles and textures to the definition of race in the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Also: A bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday now awaits a vote in the House.
The Minnesota Legislature failed to pass a significant public infrastructure borrowing bill during the last session, leaving many local projects on hold.
The Minneapolis-based utility says the technology will allow it to add more renewable energy to its system and maintain reliability