Well, looks like the situation has reversed itself from earlier tonight. Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now very narrowly ahead of Mike Hatch in the gubernatorial race, and Democrat Tim Walz is building a sizable lead over Gil Gutknecht in MN-1. Michelle Bachmann appears poised to defeat Patty Wetterling in MN-6.
Pawlenty’s lead is very tenous, but he’s managed to come up from behind, and it seems likely that Hatch will lose, if by the narrowest of margins. The Walz lead is a bit perplexing to me. The early reports indicated that the GOP had strong turnout in MN-1 — which may be true, but that turnout appears to have benefited Pawlenty rather than Gutknecht. It’s possible that Gutknecht will pull enough of a margin in his home turf in southeast Minnesota, but with Rochester and Olmstead County trending more Democratic, that’s not as certain as it may have been in past elections.
It all turns on where the remaining votes remain. Pawlenty, Gutknecht, Kiffmeyer, and Anderson all need some significant help in order to stay in office. Pawlenty seems to have good odds, but today is not a good day for Minnesota Republicans.
UPDATE – 11:15PM Central: The trends are staying steady. Pawlenty is slowly gaining. Gutknecht appears headed for a loss.
The Star-Tribune has called the auditor’s race for Rebecca Otto. Again, that’s a testament to Democratic voting strength, assuming that people are voting straight party line on those statewide positions. If that’s true, it also means that Hatch is doing poorly with DFL voters — and the county and precinct-level figures seem to point in that direction.