Mueller unseats Poppe in 27B

Published 5:56 pm Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Longtime District 27B incumbent Jeanne Poppe was unseated by a determined campaign of first-time challenger Patricia Mueller.

District 27B, held by Poppe, now in her eighth term, was a coveted seat by state Republicans. Mueller took the race 9,899 to Poppe’s 9,296.

“We wanted from the very beginning to work harder than anybody else and hear from as many people as possible,” Mueller said late Wednesday afternoon after the unofficial results had been tallied. “We did the work. You never know if it’s going to be enough until the last vote is counted, but we’re so happy to have some finality.”

Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL-27B)

Email newsletter signup

The race wasn’t without some tension. Mueller held a commanding lead throughout the day Wednesday as votes were still being tallied after a software glitch forced election officials to submit votes by hand to the Minnesota Secretary of State. However, as the afternoon stretched on, Poppe began picking up ground and at one point took the lead.

But late in the afternoon, a surge of votes lifted Mueller to her first state office appointment.

“It was expected to be honest,” Mueller explained. “Austin has voted for Poppe for a long time. Things don’t change over night. When absentee ballots came in from Austin, we knew it was going to be close. We just hoped and prayed early on that we would get enough votes from the rural areas to counteract the surge.”

Mueller’s first term will not be an easy one as the state is facing several challenges, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the recent racial tension focused around the death of George Floyd. But, she said she is excited to get to work.

“We have a lot of great things we have to do up in St. Paul,” Mueller said. “We’re dealing with a budget deficit and need to have leadership to be able to stand up and say our areas are hurting and the government needs to take part in this sacrifice.”

While Mueller recognizes that Poppe has been representing the area for a long time now, she also said that it was time for new representation and that the voters have indicated as much.

“There’s no doubt Poppe has served this area for a long time,” she said. “The hard part is that for a long time she has continued to serve this area as part of a caucus that had become more extreme and follows causes that don’t match the values of 27B.”

“There are several people that believe she has stopped representing them,” Mueller added.

A call was placed to Poppe for comment, but she has not returned the call.