MURDOCK -- Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, pulled off a nail biter over Mike Bredeck, R-Madison, for the District 20A seat.
"Nerve-wracking,'' said Falk when contacted as the final votes were tallied after 1 a.m. today.
With all precincts reporting, Falk led Mike Bredeck, R-Madison, by a count of 9,032 to 8,506, a 526-vote difference.
The candidates had been 430 votes apart and waiting for results from the three Dawson precincts to settle the race. An equipment malfunction in Dawson caused the delay.
Falk, 25, and Bredeck, 59, fought one of the region's most hotly contested races, vying for the seat being vacated by Aaron Peterson, DFL-Appleton.
Win or lose, Bredeck said he was proud of the campaign and the team that worked for him. He called the campaign a great learning experience.
He noted that he was up against a "blue wind'' as the Democrats posted gains in state and national elections. He also felt that the West Central Tribune's endorsement of his opponent hurt him at the polls.
Falk said six months of hard work on the campaign trail paid off for him, but noted that the real work is still ahead. "I'm looking forward to it,'' he said.
Falk said his relative youth was sometimes a campaign issue, but he said it was a positive sign that a district known for its aging population would select a young candidate.
During the campaign, Falk emphasized his close ties to Peterson, with whom he worked on renewable energy issues in the Legislature, as well as State Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls.
This represents Bredeck's second run for the seat in the large, rural district in far western Minnesota that has been held in Democratic hands.
Bredeck is a regional manager for Catholic Aid Insurance and retired after a 38-year career in education as a teacher, guidance counselor and wrestling coach in the Madison and Lac qui Parle Valley schools.
Bredeck emphasized a rural agenda in his campaign, and his independence from the party.
Falk is the fifth generation in the family farm and seed business, a wind power developer and graduate of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. He also emphasized rural issues, as well the importance of renewable energy development to the rural economy.