Parry lives down tweets, saves District 26 Senate seat for GOP


Mike Parry kept Minnesota’s Senate District 26 in the Republican column Tuesday, winning a plurality of the vote in a special election that pitted him against DFLer Jason Engbrecht and Roy Srp of the Independence Party.

Parry won with 43.0% of the vote to Engbrecht’s 36.5% and Srp’s 20.3%. Nearly 11,500 ballots were cast.

Revelations of Twitter messages on Parry’s account that called President Obama a “Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man” and linked Democrats to pedophiles didn’t dissuade a plurality of voters who braved the cold Tuesday to back the Republican.

Because the special election was to fill a vacancy left by Republican Dick Day, who retired to lobby for Racino Now, Parry will have to savor his victory in a hurry. He must run again next November to retain the seat — and then again in 2012 due to redistricting.

Parry, Engbrecht and Srp each gained the most votes in one of the three counties, parts of which make up the district. Engbrecht took his home county, vote-rich Rice, but only barely: 1,772 votes to 1,726 for Parry and 263 for Srp.

Srp won in Waseca county, home to the city he’s mayor of (also Waseca), with 1,055 votes, for 46%. Parry was second there with 715 (31%). Engbrecht had 514 (22%).

Where Parry cleaned up was Steele County, where he gained 2,502 votes, or 46%. Engbrecht had 1,907 (35%), Srp 1,016 (19%).

The results signaled that “2010 will be a great year for Minnesota Republicans” to state GOP Chair Tony Sutton, who added, “I look forward to electing more like minded fiscal conservatives in November.”

As voters were still at the polls, a Governing magazine blog called the contest “a not uninteresting state Senate special election” — interesting in that, had Parry won, it’d go down as possibly the first election in the country “where a Twittergaffe actually cost someone an election.” Continued blogger Josh Goodman:

The biggest reason I’ll be watching this race, though, is that I’m curious in the political environment coming after the Massachusetts special election. Are Democrats doubly despondent or was Scott Brown’s victory a wake-up call for them?

There was not much doubt about the national implications of the Southern Minnesota triumph from Sutton, who tweeted “1st Scott Brown, now Parry, next up Victory in Nov!”

Parry himself stayed silent on Twitter, as he had for five days leading up to the election.