Lack of name recognition and local connection doesn’t seem to be a factor in legislative races—as long as you’re running as a Republican. 

Democrats have struggled for much of Otter Tail County’s 150-plus year history. 

Republican Jeff Backer, a State House incumbent from the Wheaton area, won a decisive victory over Fergus Falls Democrat Nancy Jost. This is despite the fact that the post-census drawing of new legislative boundaries thrust Backer into new territory—including Pelican Rapids and the large voting block in Fergus Falls.

Though unfamiliar in this area, Backer’s Republican affiliation was enough to secure a 12,248 to 6,172 victory. 

Even Jost’s hometown of Fergus Falls went Backer by a wide margin.