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Minn. congressional races: Lewis becomes Minn.'s newest member of Congress

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Paulsen celebrates his win.
Congressman Eric Paulsen celebrates his win with family members.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

Updated: Nov. 9, 2016 @ 3:20 a.m. | Posted: Nov. 8, 2016 @ 10:56 p.m. 

It was a good night for Minnesota's incumbent members of Congress.

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen has won a fifth term, surviving a Democratic challenger who sought to tie him to president-elect Donald Trump.

Paulsen's victory over state Sen. Terri Bonoff closes out Bonoff's long-shot challenge in the 3rd Congressional District that represents Minneapolis' western suburbs.

The Republican wave that poured over other states this Election Day appeared to buoy outstate GOP candidates at the local level and in congressional races.

Rep. Rick Nolan addresses supporters.
Rep. Rick Nolan addresses supporters at a DFL reception in Baxter as election results came in.
Vickie Kettlewell for MPR News

One surprise: In Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, Democratic U.S Rep. Tim Walz found himself in a very close — but ultimately successful — race to keep his seat.

Three of Minnesota's eight U.S. House races have been among the most closely watched in the nation.

The 8th Congressional District rematch between incumbent DFL U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and Stewart Mills has been one of the most competitive — and one of the most expensive — U.S. House races in the country this year. 

Republicans hoped support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump might lift Mills in a district that has historically been reliably Democratic, but Nolan ultimately won the day with a narrow victory. 

In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Jason Lewis defeated DFLer Angie Craig to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline. With the victory, Lewis will become Minnesota's newest member of congress. 

Bret Sample, a retired steelworker and veteran from McGregor, said he was a former DFLer supporting Mills in the 8th.

"I didn't leave the party, the party left me," said Sample. "The Democratic Party is no longer farm, labor. It's special interests."

Bonoff and Democratic outside political groups launched attacks in the 3rd District race that aimed to drag down Paulsen in the wealthy, well-educated suburbs by comparing him to Trump. Bonoff entered the race after it became clear Trump would secure the party's nomination.

Tom Emmer speaks to the excited crowd.
Tom Emmer speaks to the excited crowd as results for Donald Trump and U.S. Senate races come in. Emmer will serve another term in the 6th District.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

Paulsen was careful while speaking about Trump throughout the campaign, eventually declaring he wouldn't vote for the Republican nominee.

Paulsen fits the district well, and most Republicans were comfortable with he re-election, said MPR News political analyst Maureen Shaver. Bonoff, she added, got into the race late.

There was less drama in Minnesota's other congressional races. Republican Rep. Tom Emmer and DFLer Rep. Keith Ellison comfortably won re-election in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District and 5th Congressional District, respectively.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.