Although President Donald Trump held a narrow lead in nationwide voting and most swing states on November 3, a predicted shift occurred as absentee ballots gave challenger Joe Biden substantial leads in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Major news outlets on Saturday, November 7, declared that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be the next President and Vice President of the United States — although Trump continues to claim the results were unfair.
On Monday, November 9, Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin sent her congratulations to Biden and Harris: "The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe congratulates President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris on their election victory, and are excited to work with them. This is also a day of celebration because this is a profound moment in history. The glass ceiling is forever shattered and our little girls now know their dreams can come true. I'm excited for the day when I meet Senator Harris again and get to say, ‘Madame Vice President.’”
The slow ballot-counting process and delayed declaration of victory were predicted by state and federal election officials, due to the large number of absentee ballots that still need to be counted in other swing states. With COVID-19 infections increasing throughout the fall, many voters chose to vote early in person or by mail-in absentee ballot, and some state laws would not allow counting of absentee ballots until Election Day or after.
In Minnesota, Biden and Harris won 52.6 percent of the vote to 45.4 percent for Trump and Pence. U.S. Senator Tina Smith was reelected over Jason Lewis, and the delegation to the House of Representatives will be split, with four Democrats and four Republicans.
Several of our Band and community members were on the ballot, but unfortunately only one emerged successful: Virgil Wind was reelected to the Onamia School Board.
Three others fell short in very difficult races against popular incumbents: Band member Bradley Harrington lost to David Oslin in the race for Mille Lacs County Commissioner; Band employee and Turtle Mountain Ojibwe member Gaylene Spolarich lost to Dale Lueck in the race for State Representative in Aitkin County; and Becky Clitso-Garcia came in fourth in the race for Onamia School Board, missing one of two open seats.
Native Americans nationwide
Six Native Americans won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives:
• OK-4: Rep. Tom Cole (R–Chickasaw Nation) 67.8% v. Mary Brannon (D) 28.8%
• OK-2: Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R) 75% v. Danyell Lanier (D) 22%. Both candidates are members of the Cherokee Nation
• KS-3: Rep. Sharice Davids (D–Ho-Chunk) 53.4% v. Amanda Adkins (R) 43.8%
• NM-1: Rep. Deb Haaland (D–Laguna Pueblo) 58.1% v. Michelle Garcia Holmes (R) 41.9%
• NM-2: Yvette Herrell (R–Cherokee Nation) 53.9% v. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D) 46.1%
• HI-2: Kaiali'i Kahele (D–Native Hawaiian) 64.1% v. Joe Akana (R) 29.9%
Four Native Americans lost their bids for Congressional seats:
• ID-1: Rudy Soto (D–Shoshone-Bannock) 28.6% v. Rep. Russ Fulcher (R) 67.8%
• UT-1: Darren Parry (D– Northwestern Band of Shoshone) 31.8% v. Blake Moore (R) 68.2%
• WI-7: Tricia Zunker (D–Ho-Chunk) 39.2% v. Tom Tiffany (R) 60.8%
• WY-At-Large: Lynette Grey Bull (D– Northern Arapaho/Hunkpapa Lakota) 24.6% v. Rep. Liz Cheney (R) 68.7%
One Native American, Paulette Jordan of Idaho, (D– Coeur d'Alene), lost her race for U.S. Senate with 33.2% of the vote compared to 62.6% for incumbent Republican Senator Jim Risch.
The Minnesota Senate will remain in Republican control. Republicans won all races in the Senate districts that include Mille Lacs Band communities.
District 15 – Mille Lacs Area/District I/Onamia/Chiminising. Republican Andrew Mathews defeated Democrat Brent Krist 74.71% to 25.17%
District 11 – Hinckley/Aazhoomog. Republican Jason Rarick defeated Democrat Michelle Lee 56.57% to 43.34%
District 10 – Crow Wing/Aitkin Area/East Lake: Republican Carrie Ruud defeated Democrat Steve Samuelson 67.42% to 32.50%
The Minnesota House of Representatives will remain in Democratic control. Republicans won all races in the House districts that include Mille Lacs Band communities.
District 15A – Mille Lacs Area/District I and IIa
Republican Sondra Erickson defeated Democrat Cal Schmock 74.22% to 25.62%.
District 11B - Hinckley/Aazhoomog. Republican Nathan Nelson defeated Democrat Jack Frechette 65.34% to 34.61%.
District 10B -Crow Wing/Aitkin/District II East Lake. Republican Dale K. Lueck defeated Gaylene Spolarich 69.37% to 30.59%
County Commissioner Races
Aitkin County Commissioner, District 2: Laurie Westerlund defeated Gene Miller. District 4: Brian Napstad defeated Bill Pratt.
Mille Lacs County Commissioner, District 5: David Oslin defeated Bradley E. Harrington.
Pine County Commissioner, District 3: Terry Lovgren defeated Steven D. Chaffee. District 4: J.J. Waldhalm defeated B. Mikrot Jr.
U.S. Senator Tina Smith (DFL) prevailed with 48.84% of the vote to 43.44% for former Congressman Jason Lewis (R) to win a full six-year term to the U.S. Senate. Smith’s U.S. Senate seat won’t be on the ballot again until 2026.
U.S. House of Representatives
Eight Congressional District (including Mille Lacs, Aitkin, and Pine Counties, along with others in northeast and east central Minnesota): Congressman Peter Stauber (R) won re-election to a second term with 56.69% to 37.61% for Quinn Nystrom (DFL).
Fourth Congressional District (St. Paul area): Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL) won re-election to an 11th term with 63.18% of the vote over her Republican challenger’s 28.97%.
Fifth Congressional District (Minneapolis area): Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (DFL) won re-election to a second term with 64.34% of the vote over her Republican challenger’s 25.81%.
Other winners of Congressional seats were Republican Jim Hagedorn (First District), Democrat Angie Craig (Second District), Democrat Dean Phillips (Third District), Republican Tom Emmer (Sixth District), and Republican Michelle Fischbach (Seventh District).
Minnesota Supreme Court
Justice Paul Thissen won his election to continue serving on the Minnesota Supreme Court with 59.12% over his challenger’s 40.54% for a six-year term. Thissen was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by then-Governor Mark Dayton in 2018.
Visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website to find more municipal, school boards, local, state and Federal Information at: https://electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/20201103