And the winners are...
The dust has barely settled in polling places and news outlets have begun their analysis of the campaigns, their winners and also-rans.
President Barack Obama won a second term over challenger Mitt Romney by a close margin. Obama garnered 303 electoral votes to Romney's 206.
In one of the most hotly contested, and most expensive races in Minnesota, challenger Rick Nolan bested incumbent Chip Cravaack in the Congressional District 8. Cravaack, who unseated long-time congressman Jim Oberstar in the last election lost by the narrowest of margins to Nolan. Cravaack conceded just after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Both proposed amendments to the Minnesota Constitution failed. Minnesota became the first to reject an amendment banning gay marriage. As reported in the News-Chronicle, polls showed the state was in evenly split just days before voters would decide the issue.
The proposed voter ID amendment, which would have required voters to present a photo ID at polling places, also did not pass muster with voters with 50 percent opposing the amendment and 48 percent in support.
In State Senate District 3, Tom Bakk held his seat over challenger Jennifer Havlick by close to twice the number of votes. Havlick earned just over 35 percent to Bakk's 64.59 percent. Bakk who is the Senate Minority Leader, told a crowd gathered in a St. Paul hotel ballroom that Democrats have "taken back the Senate" with at least 34 members in the 67-person body. Democrats will have control of the legislature for the next two years.
"I think that people have decided that he's doing a great job and I congratulate him on his win," said Havlick who was uncertain about running again in the future. She has run two previous campaigns for Bakk's seat in the past and been defeated.
Representative Mary Murphy was victorious over challenger Keith Mac Donald in District 3B (64.93 to 34.93 percent) and incumbent Dave Dill ran away with the race in District 3A, beating Jim Tuomala by over twice the percentage of votes (66.64 to 32.98 percent).
On the Lake County Board of Commissioners, Brad Jones and Rich Sve ran unopposed, keeping their seats, and Rick Goutermont held off challenger Patricia Taylor to retain his seat. There will be one new face on the board, though: Peter Walsh beat out Lee Davis in a bid to take over the seat of retiring Commissioner Tom Clifford.
"I appreciate everybody that supported me and voted for. I had a lot of support and a lot of great people that backed me," Walsh said.
In Two Harbors Mayor Randy Bolen won handily over opponent Mary Henjum Rosati. Bolen, who was out on Seventh Avenue waving at motorists by his large campaign sign on Election Day, earned 1410 votes to Henjum Rosati's 616 votes. Write-in candidates for the seat got 31 votes.
Bolen says he's excited about the next 4 years.
"I'm feeling good. It's a tremendous honor to be steering this ship," said Bolen in a phone conversation with the News-Chronicle Wednesday morning. "I'm looking forward to networking with people on the local, state and federal level to move the city in the direction of prosperity." Bolen cited numerous projects on the top of his list for the city including the expansion of the Burlington Bay Campground and the Marina Project. He said he's eager to be working with the new council members to expand economic development and create more jobs.
"I hope that those folks that were elected will stand up and be counted. I would not have given up my position on council and run for mayor...but it looked to me like they were stacking the deck, and that's why I stepped up to plate," said Henjum Rosati, who lost the race for mayor, but still feels like a winner.
"I won whether I lost the electoral vote or not. I stepped up to plate and did not let one person run unopposed. I ran a great, clean campaign," she added.
Former Two Harbors Mayor Robin Glaser, write-in candidate for the at-large seat on the Two Harbors City Council beating Richard Rosati 1002 votes to 760. Glaser announced her intent to run as a write-in late in the campaign season, but managed run an effective eleventh-hour race.
"I'm just overwhelmed and humbled right now," Glaser said. "It's a surreal moment when someone actually says 'you won.'" Glaser said she's looking forward to being on the council again and that key projects for the city are the completion of the municipal campground and marina.
Cathy Erickson easily won the city council seat in the third ward over opponent Linda Newsome Melcher. Erickson earned 391 votes while Melcher came away with a modest 96 votes.
"I was really encouraged by the voting percentage and really excited that the members of ward 3 think that I can do a good job for them," Erickson said. She said she is looking forward to continuing the work the current council is doing and finding ways to better the community.
George Scheidt and Roger Simonson were unopposed in the fourth and second wards, respectively. Simonson will maintain his seat on the Council and Scheidt will join the Council in January, taking over from Steve Detlefson who did not seek reelection.
The Silver Bay mayoral race was a squeaker with Joanne Johnson edging out incumbent Scott Johnson for the win.
"I'm pleased with how it went. Scott called first thing in the morning and offered some of his information. I feel really good about it," said Joanne Johnson. As for the future she added, "We'll regroup and see what new things we can do."
Carlene Perfetto held her seat on the Silver Bay council and will be joined by Dustin Goutermont.
Silver Bay presented to questions to voters related to the establishment of a new city utility. Both questions on the ballot failed.
"The city vote failed...what's meant to be will be. It doesn't mean anything is dead economically, we'll just go to plan B. The people have spoken and that's the most important thing. Silver Bay...I see us turning a corner," Joanne Johnson said.
In the Lake County Commision race, winners were Peter Walsh in District 1 and Rick Goutermont in District 2. Brad Jones and Rick Sve ran unopposed and retain their seats on the board.
See sidebar for a complete list of local election results.