■ Radinovich squeaks by Lueck in House 10B race

Joe Radinovich, 26, a union official with the American Federation of Government Employees, narrowly defeated former Aitkin County Commissioner Dale Lueck 11,087-10,764 or 50.69 percent to 49.22 percent in Tuesday’s election.

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The Crosby resident, who won the House District 10B seat in his first bid for office, said his biggest issue was the inequity in the education funding formula and the effect on outstate Minnesota schools. He said he would be interested in committee appointments in the areas of K-12 education and agriculture but would serve wherever he could be helpful. He said he’s interested in programs that would put Minnesotans back to work but noted that a lot would be determined by the state budget outlook in the next two years and revenue projections.

Radinovich was traveling to St. Paul on Wednesday for a news conference and said he would take part in electing DFL leaders Thursday night.

During the House 10B race a paid Republican staffer left his job shortly after it was discovered he misrepresented himself in a letter to the editor in which he claimed to be a Hill City Democrat who was urging Democrats to support a Democrat other than Radinovich. The winning candidate wasn’t sure what effect the letter may have had.

“It’s really tough to say,” Radinovich said. “To say that one thing tipped it is really difficult.”

Lueck, a cattle rancher, said Wednesday he was trying to catch up on four months of ranching chores. He said parts of District 10B broke for the Democrats, mirroring the state and the nation. He said he thought the letter from the Republican staffer played little role in his defeat. More significant, he said, was the large number of outside expenditures spent on both sides of the race. Lueck said the DFL caucus spent collectively $27,000 on a radio commercial aimed at him, which was more money than he raised for his campaign.

“It came from both sides,” Lueck said. “Joe and I had a heck of a time getting our voice out there.”

The result in Lueck’s view was a bonanza for broadcast companies in central Minnesota.

“The radio stations in this area...that was Christmas twice over,” Lueck said.

He said he wouldn’t rule out another bid for the Legislature but that two years was a long way away.

Lueck said he was worried that the Democrats took control of both houses of the Legislature and more state spending is in the works.

“I’m concerned we may be on a path in Minnesota that may not help our economy,” he said. “I’m afraid that’s where we’re headed.”

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com. He may be followed at www.twitter.com/MikeORourkenews.