New lawmakers, but little change after Minnesota special elections

There were no flipped seats in Monday's special elections.
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There were no flipped seats in Monday's special elections.
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Minnesota has two new state lawmakers, but the overall compositions of the Minnesota Senate and House remain unchanged.

Voters took to the polls for two special elections created by the resignations of DFL Sen. Dan Schoen and GOP Rep. Tony Cornish following sexual harassment allegations. 

Ultimately, Schoen's former Senate District 54 stayed blue, with DFLer Karla Bigham defeating Republican candidate Denny McNamara.

And in House District 23B, GOPer Jeremy Munson comfortably beat DFL opponent Melissa Wagner to retain Republican control of the seat.

What does this mean? 

Ultimately this changes little in terms of power at the State Capitol. 

Republicans have a decent majority in the House, so no power was going to change hands there, but went into Monday's election with only two more seats in the Senate.

Bigham's win means the Senate is now 34-33 in the Republicans favor, and they are still at risk of losing the majority should Sen. Michelle Fischbach be forced to step down to fulfill her obligations as Minnesota's Lieutenant Governor.

Also, the hope of a "blue wave" carrying Democrats to victory proved to have mixed results.

Bigham's win by 3.65 percent was less than the 6-plus percent margin that Dan Schoen won with in 2016. That said, District 54 was carried by President Donald Trump by 16 points over Hillary Clinton in the last election.

Munson meanwhile beat Wagner by almost 20 points in the House 23B race, though this was 15 points smaller than Cornish's victory in 2016.

The results

Senate District 54

Republican – Denny McNamara: 6,815 votes, 47.07%

DFL – Karla Bigham: 7,344 votes, 50.72%

Libertarian Party – Emily Mellingen: 313 votes, 2.16%

Write-in: 7 votes, 0.05%

House District 23B

Republican – Jeremy Munson: 3,943 votes, 59.22%

DFL – Melissa Wagner: 2,658 votes, 39.92%

Write-in: 57 votes, 0.86%

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