November 5, 1999



Two special elections were held on Tuesday to replace legislators who recently died in office, Representative Willard Munger and Senator Janet Johnson. Munger’s seat was captured by Duluth DFL City Council member Dale Swapinski who soundly defeated his Republican opponent by 66% to 23%. District 7 is considered a DFL stronghold and Munger had held the seat since 1954.

In what was considered a surprise win, DFL candidate Twyla Ring defeated Republican opponent Bob Gustafson by a 43% to 37% margin in Senate District 18. The remainder of the vote went to Reform Party and Libertarian Party candidates. Ring replaces Senator Johnson who died earlier this fall of a brain tumor. Ring’s win maintains the DFL’s 39 to 26 majority in the Minnesota Senate. That majority had been 42 to 24 at the beginning of 1999.

The election was somewhat of a surprise because Republicans have been so successful in winning special elections during the 1990’s. Prior to Tuesday, DFLers had only won one special election since 1991.