Ruud crushing Samuelson in Minn. Senate District 10 race
As of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, State Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, was on the path to a third consecutive term in St. Paul with 30,778 votes (67.59%) over DFLer Steve Samuelson’s 14,718 votes (32.32%) in Senate District 10.
The race for District 10 had the looks of a conciliatory, non-competitive affair from the beginning, with both candidates differing little on major issues and Samuelson admitting at multiple points that he respected Ruud’s public service, going so far as to describe his candidacy as procedural. As Samuelson put it, it was a matter of having multiple names on the ballot for no other reason than to give central Minnesotans a choice because they like a choice.
Still, there were some characteristics that distinguished the candidates.
Ruud cast herself as a proud daughter of central Minnesota, with deep ties to the region in professional, personal, and familial terms going back decades. Her candidacy rested largely in her proven track record as a conservative stalwart willing to work with DFLers on environmental issues to protect the lakes area’s water-rich environs key to local economies.
Samuelson’s focus seemed to be larger in scope, more big picture-oriented, where his strongest statements were indictments of the current political climate — namely, he said, a political sphere dominated by corporate dark money and a Legislature hampered by partisan mud-slinging. In a candidacy that was markedly middle of the road, if not outright conservative at times, Samuelson preached a gospel of balance and moderation in an era of charged existential politics.
District 10 has historically been staunchly Republican. Ruud handily won over DFL candidates Tiffany Stenglein by a margin of 64.39% over 35.61% in 2016, and Taylor Stevenson by 54% to 46% in 2012.