Republicans swept the Minot legislative races Tuesday, seating four incumbents and two newcomers.
The vote tally in the District 38 House race was Republicans Dan Ruby, 3,077, and Larry Bellew, 2,897, and Democrats Marilyn Carlson, 2,297 and Kurt Smith, 2,161. In the Senate race, Republican David Hogue led Democrat Gary Granzotto 3,474 to 2,006.
In the District 40 House race , Republicans Matthew Klein, 2,014, and Robert Frantsvog, 1,954 defeated Sue Olafson, 1,853, and Ben Scheeler, 1,732. In the Senate race, Karen Krebsbach held off Dianne Giessinger 2,308 to 1,813.
Republican wins are a reversal of the 2006 election, in which Democrats claimed all the seats in Minot's Districts 3 and 5. Republicans took the returns as a sign that people have been satisfied with Republican leadership the past two years.
"I think they are happy with the way the Republicans are leading the state right now, and we are part of that. We have helped. We are John Hoeven's supporters," Bellew said.
"The voters in district 40 are pretty astute and recognized that our economy is good," Klein said. "We didn't get here by accident. We got here because we did some things right."
Sue Olafson of Glenburn, a teacher at Minot Public Schools, felt good about her race, coming just 101 votes away from Frantsvog's total.
"That's not bad for a first time out," she said. "I am proud of our showing. I think we did a good job. We gave them a run for their money."
Giessinger also said she felt good about the campaign.
"I just feel that it's been awesome being part of the democratic process," she said. "I wish Karen Krebsbach well. She will go down there and represent the state and Minot well.
Giessinger is an outreach teacher and regional coordinator for North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind.
Scheeler a 26-year-old political science major who interned for Sen. Kent Conrad in Fargo, is an aide with the autism program at Roosevelt Elementary. Not only a new face, he brought a focus on youth to the campaign.
"It's been a lot of fun," he said.
Democrats held out hope to the end that results would swing their way with more than 6,000 absentee and early ballots to count late in the process.
"Regardless of the outcome, it's been quite an educational experience," said Smith, a retired lieutenant with the Minot Police Department, adding that he's appreciated the support that he's had. "It's disappointing, but none-the-less, it's been a good ride."
Carlson said she was surprised by the totals given the support the Democrats received going door to door.
"We worked hard and did our very best," said Carlson, a clinical supervisor at Village Family Service Center.
Granzotto also said the results weren't what he expected. However, running for office was a rewarding experience.
"Especially going door to door and meeting people and talking about the issues that concern them," he said. Granzotto, a custodian with Minot Public Schools, previously worked in pastoral ministry and has been active in the North Dakota Public Employees Association.
Krebsbach said Republicans ran a better campaign than two years ago.
"Republicans are just more on the ball this time," she said. "Last time, I don't think that they got out their vote. I think that was a big part of it. This time, they were motivated."
Krebsbach has served in the Senate since 1988 and was president pro tem in the 2001 session.
Republicans said they now must meet the public's expectation that they will handle the state's financial reserves wisely.
Ruby said voters want a balance when it comes to the surplus.
"People have basically indicated they would like to see some of that back and also some wise use of those funds for infrastructure," he said.
Ruby, a partner in Circle Sanitation, has served in the House of Representatives since 2001. Bellew, retired from the Minot Park District, has served in the state House of Representatives since 2001.
Hogue, an attorney making his first run for public office, will replace long-time Republican legislator Ben Tollefson in the Senate. Hogue has been active with the National Guard, Minot YMCA, Municipal Port Authority and MAGIC Fund Screening Committee.
Frantsvog will replace Rep. Clara Sue Price, R-Minot, who did not seek re-election in District 40. He joins Klein, a retired engineer, has served in the state House of Representatives since 1992. Klein was Speaker of the House in 2005.
Frantsvog retired as finance director for the city of Minot. He has been active with the North Dakota League of Cities, lobbying for that group during the past legislative session.
He said he looks forward to the legislative session and tackling issues such as controlling tuition increases and implementing the governor's proposed tax relief and education initiatives.
"One of the things that makes me feel really good is the support from the voters in District 40. I really appreciate that," he said.