AAP staff report
ST. PAUL (Nov. 6, 2012) — Foung Hawj won his bid to take the Minnesota State Senate seat once occupied by Mee Moua. He will likely be sworn in as the District 67 State Senator on Jan. 6, 2013.
Hawj is a Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate and won with 72.46 percent of the vote with all 27 precincts reporting. He defeated Republican candidate Mike Capistrant.
At the end of an at times emotional speech, Hawj told East Siders that he would always work hard on their behalf.
“There is more to come for all of us as I serve as the State Senator of Minnesota,” Hawj said. “I pray to always stay humble, and to never forget you, the people I work for. I know that some people did not vote for me, and I know that for some, I was only their second choice. I promise that I will do all I can to win you over in the next four years, not with speeches, not by what I say, but by how hard I will work for our community and our state.”
The seat was vacated by Sen. John Harrington. The former St. Paul Chief of Police decided against a second term and returned to another law enforcement leadership role.
The narrow victory in the primary election was a much bigger hurdle in the DFL stronghold district. Hawj emerged in a three-way race with Tom Diamond and Robert Humphrey.
The election night celebration was held at the East Side Holiday Inn. Hawj shared his campaign celebration with District 67 State Representatives Sheldon Johnson and Tim Mahoney, who both won reelection.
Hawj emerged as the leader in the earliest reports and it was never close. When the win was clear, Hawj thanked his family, his campaign team and the voters of the East Side.
“I want to thank you, because I owe this victory to you. I owe it to you, because you believe, like I do, that diversity is our strength. I owe it to you, because you believe, like I do, in the hard work that has been the secret to this campaign’s success,” Hawj told a cheering crowd.
Hawj reflected on his childhood in Laos.
“I remember the day we left our homeland to go to the refugee camp,” Hawj said. “I remember our first morning in United States after we arrived here in 1976. I remember the beautiful summer day in 1981, when you dressed us nicely to go to a Kansas City courtroom to swear an oath to become citizen of this country and to protect it. That day, so long ago, made this day, today, a possibility. You support and your hard work made it a reality.”
Attorney Blong Yang lost his bid to win the Special Election for District 2 Hennepin County Commissioner. With all 52 precincts reporting the seat went to Linda Higgins with 59.39 percent of the vote.
On his website, Blong thanked the 28,115 voters who supported him on Tuesday. He said it wasn’t enough this time but that he will step back and believes God has a plan.
“Congratulations to Linda Higgins, who will be our next county commissioner in District 2. Hopefully our “debates” have challenged her to find some middle ground that is in the best interests of District 2 residents,” stated Blong. “The campaign has taken a toll on my family. I am ready to get back to being the husband and the father that I should be.”