Gazelka cruising to third term in race for Minn. Senate District 9
As of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, with 11,748 votes (75.44%) was leading DFL challenger A. John Peters’s 3,810 votes (24.47%) for Minnesota Senate District 9.
The state’s handling of COVID-19 and an impending budgetary crisis factored heavily in the race for Minnesota Senate District 9. As the most powerful Republican in the state, Gazelka leaned on his track record as senate majority leader since 2017 and a conservative stalwart in the senate since 2012. Peters presented himself as something of a nonpartisan pragmatist, a data-driven candidate with a clinical bent for results that would, in his words, not kowtow to DFL or Republican ideologies over whatever policies have the best outcomes.
Touting himself as a fervent defender of anti-abortion causes, Second Amendment freedoms, as well as the principle of law and order, Gazelka pointed to the looming budget shortfalls and said his bonafides proved he was the right person to put in the driver’s seat. Peters agreed with Gazelka that cuts — some of them substantial — would be necessary to balance the budget, but warned against an absolutist approach that limited options like raising taxes or restructuring the tax system to alleviate pressure on Minnesota’s lower income earners.
District 9 has historically been a Republican stronghold. Gazelka dominated DFL candidate Jason Weinerman by 71.26% to 28.74% in 2016, and first got elected to office on another strong win by 53.7% to 46.3% over DFLer Al Doty in 2012.