Minot-area voters have returned Republican incumbents to the North Dakota Legislature, according to the unofficial count Tuesday night.
In District 38, Sen. David Hogue and Reps. Larry Bellew and Dan Ruby, all Minot, won handily. In District 40, Sen. Karen Krebsbach of Minot ran unopposed, and Reps. Robert Frantsvog and Matt Klein, both Minot, led their challengers.
"When you see the numbers come in as you do, it makes you very thankful and humbled," Ruby said.
The unofficial totals in District 38 showed Ruby with 3,933 votes and Bellew with 3,599 votes. Mike Rose of Minot received 2,005 votes and Robert Kibler of Burlington polled 1,600 votes on the Democratic side.
In the Senate race, David Hogue had 4,228 votes to 1,701 for Democrat Clarice Granzotto of Minot.
"With this type of strong support, it indicates that the people in our district are pretty happy with what we are doing in this part of the state," Bellew said. "We will just continue to do our best for the people in our district and Ward County and the people of northwest North Dakota."
Bellew, an Air Force veteran, is retired as superintendent of Souris Valley Golf Course. He has been a legislator for 12 years.
Hogue is an attorney with Pringle & Herigstad. He was elected to the Senate in 2008. Ruby, first elected in 2000, is a partner in two family businesses, Circle Sanitation and Noonan Landfill LLC.
Hogue said the election results show that people like the way that the Republican-controlled Legislature has put money away for the future, given back through tax reductions and spent on necessary infrastructure.
"It's been a disciplined and deliberate effort to balance all of those out," he said. "I think people are, on the whole, accepting of the approach that we have taken."
Ruby said the campaign message was to do more for the flooded area and work on oil-impact issues.
"That was what people in this area are most concerned about," he said. "We certainly heard from a lot of people who wanted to make sure we worked on property taxes not spending all the money, giving some back to the people.
"That gives us our direction because if they support us based on what we were telling them we would do, certainly our goal then is to go down and do what we said we would do," Ruby said.
Democrats felt they ran a good campaign although falling short.
"We worked hard. We gave it our best shot," Rose said. "We had some important issues that we wanted to address, and we addressed them."
Kibler said they knew it would be difficult to defeat the Republican incumbents, but he has no regrets about the campaign.
"This has been a very positive experience," he said.
Rose is a retired North Dakota State University Extension Service agent in Ward County. Kibler teaches humanities and literature at Minot State University. Granzotto has been involved with Eureka Township government.
District 40 saw 3,553 votes cast for Krebsbach, 2,042 votes for Klein and 2,059 votes for Frantsvog. Democrats Louis Pinkerton of Minot and Sue Olafson of Glenburn polled 1,855 and 1,576 votes respectively against Klein and Frantsvog.
"I think people realize what we have done in the state of North Dakota, and what's happened has been good," Klein said. "I realize we have a number of issues coming up and work that needs to be done infrastructure, roads and flood control but I think a lot of the areas we have addressed. We have set some money aside for tax relief, and I think that will continue. We have done some things right."
Frantsvog said people in District 40 sent a strong message about the need for property-tax relief during the campaign. Flood-related issues also will be important for Minot in coming years, he said.
"Minot has a lot of changes ahead. Hopefully, we will be able to deal with that in a very positive way," he said.
Pinkerton said Minot's election winners are good people who will do their best, but Minot will have a harder time getting the amount of flood assistance it needs from the state with a Republican-dominated Legislature. He also spoke highly of Olafson as a running mate.
"We ran a good race, and we appreciate the people who supported us," he said.
Pinkerton works part-time as a veterinarian at Pinkerton Animal Hospital and is a former member of the Minot School Board. Pinkerton represented District 5 in the Legislature from 2006 to 2010. Olafson was a House candidate in District 40 in 2008. She farms near Glenburn with her family and is an educator in the Minot school system.
Frantsvog has served in the House since 2008. He retired after more than 34 years with the City of Minot, the last 25 years as finance director.
Klein has served in the House since 1992. A retired electrical engineer, he has worked at Minot Air Force Base and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Krebsbach, in the Senate since 1988, has a background in business and has served on many community and statewide boards.