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Wendy Reuer, Published November 07 2012

DFLer Lien wins Morrie Lanning’s former House seat in Moorhead

MOORHEAD – For the first time in at least a decade, a Democrat will represent Moorhead in the state House of Representatives.

Ben Lien, DFL-Moorhead, won over Travis Reimche, R-Moorhead, in District 4A, which includes Moorhead and Oakport Township, to fill the post being vacated by longtime Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead.

Lien had 55 percent to Reimche’s 45 percent, in complete but unofficial results.

Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, also appeared to be heading to re-election in District 4B.

Lanning, who held the seat for 10 years, threw his name behind 40-year-old Reimche, a Sanford Health patient accounts manager who unsuccessfully ran for Moorhead mayor in 2009 and a City Council seat in 2011. Republican Party money also backed Reimche, sending radio and television advertising across the airways leading up to Election Day.

Lien, 29, is a Moorhead native who works for The Village Family Service Center in the financial counseling department. The Minnesota State University Moorhead alumnus has said his financial counseling background will help him in St. Paul.

Marquart was facing Paul Sandman, R-Hawley, in District 4B, representing rural Clay and Norman counties and Detroit Lakes.

As of 1 a.m., Marquart had 65 percent to Sandman’s 35 percent, with 64 of 82 precincts reporting partial and unofficial results.

Neither Lien nor Marquart could immediately be reached for comment.

Sandman was challenging Marquart, 55, a teacher at Dilworth-Felton-Glyndon who has served six terms as a state representative since being first elected to the House in 2000. He sits on the committees for property and local tax, redistricting and taxes.

Sandman, 46, is in sales at Leighton Broadcasting in Detroit Lakes. The conservative is an avid deer who built a home on the farmstead of his great-grandfather, who purchased the property in 1891.

Lien had 10,019 votes to Reimche’s 8,232 votes. Marquart had 11,909 votes to Sandman’s 6,398.

House members serve two-year terms and receive a salary of $31,140 per year.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530