Bennett wins 2nd term by wide margin

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, November 9, 2016

ALBERT LEA — Former first-grade teacher Peggy Bennett will serve another term in the state House of Representatives after defeating opponent Gary Schindler with a wide margin Tuesday night.

Bennett, R-Albert Lea, won with 9,808 votes — or 61.71 percent of votes — compared to Schindler’s 7,633 votes, or 38.2 percent of the votes, according to results from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office. Write-in votes claimed 17 votes, equaling out to less than 1 percent.

“I’m honored and I’m humbled to be able to continue,” Bennett said in a front of a small group of supporters at America’s Best Value Inn after Schindler congratulated her on her win.

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She said she thinks government needs to be responsible, have common sense and respect people’s pocket books.

Moving forward, she plans to work on a bill involving local firefighters and other bills involving government reforms, including an initiative on the one bill, one vote proposal, which would allow legislators to vote on issues separately instead of being lumped into one large bill. This would have been helpful for things as the Southwest Light Rail, a bonding bill and a transportation bill.

“It’s a bad habit to stuff things into bills that wouldn’t normally make it on their own,” Bennett said.

She said she looks at the election as her report card and is pleased to hear that constituents want her back in office.

Schindler, DFL-Albert Lea, the dean of student affairs at Riverland Community College, said he was disappointed to hear the results Tuesday night, especially after the effort he said he made to reach out to constituents. He estimated he door knocked on at least 15,000 doors.

On a positive note, he said he was pleased to meet with area leaders, gain knowledge and be better equipped moving into the future.

“I have no regrets about doing this at all, and I feel like I’m a better person,” Schindler said.

He may consider running for elected office again in the future, either at the state level or on the school board.

Both candidates credited their opponents for personally running positive campaigns.

The District 27A race has been one to in recent years flip flop between the two major parties.

Bennett was initially elected in 2014 after defeating DFLer Shannon Savick of Wells.

Savick defeated Republican Rich Murray of Albert Lea, who defeated Robin Brown, DFW-Moscow Township.

The race in the past has drawn state leaders, including gubernatorial candidates, to town to rally for the candidates. Outside groups have also spent big money on the candidates as both sides struggled for power in the state Legislature.

The district includes all of Freeborn County, along with parts of Faribault, Mower, Dodge and Steele counties.