Osmek ekes out a narrow win over Doepke

Republican endorsed candidate David Osmek has narrowly defeated incumbent Rep. Connie Doepke of Orono by 107 votes in the primary for the state Senate seat in District 33.

Osmek will face DFL candidate Judy Rogosheske this fall to replace retiring Republican Sen. Gen Olson.

“I think what the people saw was a true, honest conservative with the convictions and the integrity that they wanted to see in a state senator,” Osmek said of the race. “I appreciated Rep. Doepke’s work and I think that she has been a good representative, but they were looking for a change.”

Doepke could not immediately be reached for comment.

In recent weeks, the primary race between Osmek and Doepke attracted spending from two conservative outside groups: The Freedom Club and Americans for Prosperity Minnesota.

Both organizations sent mailers targeting Doepke’s record on spending and President Barack Obama’s health care law. Doepke said the mailers distorted her record.

If he wins the general election, Osmek said his legislative goals are simple: spend fewer taxpayer dollars, change state taxes to make Minnesota more attractive to businesses and champion a bill that would make union dues voluntary.

“Right to work will be the first thing on my list,” Osmek said of the union bill.

Both Osmek and Cindy Pugh, who won the GOP primary in House District 33, tracked further right than their Republican opponents.

While Osmek said it’s too soon to tell if his district is a bellwether for how the Legislature will look after the November election, “in this district, the representation will be more conservative.”

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