Kresha leading Wright in early voting for House District 9B
State Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, gains significantly in the Minnesota House District 9B race over DFL challenger Laura Wright with 16,852 votes (77.09%) to Wright's 4,979 votes (22.78%) by early Wednesday, Nov. 4 .
The race for House District 9B was a study in contrasting styles, as it pitted Kresha — a typically understated incumbent who shies away from debates — against Wright, who’s fiery, non-politically correct message took shots at Republicans and Democrats alike.
Kresha’s candidacy in 2020 took some cues from his recent work in the House, where he took a prominent role in the statewide debate over closing or opening schools amid COVID-19. As a former teacher, Kresha had long been a voice for education in the state and he remained a voice for rural districts when he urged the Walz administration to give local municipalities more self-determination during the worst health crisis in a century. He touted his willingness to communicate with constituents — be they city councils, small businesses or people on the street — in a style of governance that emphasized community input.
On the other hand, Wright may have been one of the more unorthodox candidates in the state of Minnesota. A former Republican staffer running as a DFLer with an outspoken lack of fealty for both camps will garner that kind of characterization, but it was her unusual, emotionally-charged calls for reform during a time of crisis when “help isn’t on the way” that only helped to further cement that image. In contrast to most of her DFL colleagues, Wright was critical of mask requirements and health mandates, describing them as Orwellian, while she also lambasted federal aid packages for small businesses as corrupt and easily abused.
The district has leaned heavily Republican in the last two cycles, when Kresha has dominated his DFL opponents — Stephen Browning in 2018; Dustin Simmonds in 2016 — with over 72% in both contests. He faced stiffer opposition in 2014, when he defeated Al Doty with 8,449 to 6,518 votes, or 56.4% to Doty’s 43.5%.