Republican challenger Jeremy Miller scored an upset in the early morning hours today, snatching a Minnesota Senate seat from incumbent Sharon Erickson Ropes.
Miller edged DFLer Ropes in District 31 by 437 votes, according to unofficial results from the Minnesota Secretary of State. Miller received 13,981 votes to Ropes' 13,544 in the district that covers portions of Winona and Fillmore counties and all of Houston County.
The first-time candidate pointed to his extensive door-to-door campaigning efforts and his consistent message about listening to constituents as keys to his win.
"It's very, very exciting for us," the 27-year-old election victor said. "I think it was the message of listening and working together with the people, reducing government spending and creating more jobs."
Miller, the son of Winona Mayor Jerry Miller, ran on a campaign of improving the state's business climate, reducing regulations and checking government spending.
He received strong support from many local business leaders, including Bob Kierlin - who held the Senate seat from 1999 to 2006, when he decided not to run for re-election.
Miller's campaign was also marked by heavy door-to-door ground work, which the candidate repeatedly pointed to in his campaign ads.
Ropes pointed to her opponent's inexperience and her accomplishments in four years as senator as a chief reason voters should give her another term. She could not be reached for comment early Wednesday morning.
The two candidates received contrasting levels of support in different regions of the district. Ropes garnered more than 300 more votes than Miller in Fillmore County, but the Republican topped Ropes by 47 votes in Winona County and nearly 700 votes in Houston County.