A recount in a St. Cloud-area Senate seat gave the edge to the Republican candidate on Wednesday, sealing a long-presumed outcome: The GOP will control the Minnesota Senate — and therefore the entire Legislature — next year.

A recount in a St. Cloud-area Senate seat gave the edge to the Republican candidate on Wednesday, sealing a long-presumed outcome: The GOP will control the Minnesota Senate — and therefore the entire Legislature — next year.

Senate Republicans shocked Democrats in November's election, winning eight DFL seats while losing just two to queue up a slim, 34-33 majority for 2017. But two of those elections were well within the half a percentage point margin that triggers state-funded recounts.

After three days of hand counting nearly 40,000 ballots at an Elk River voting center, county officials determined that Republican Jerry Relph maintained his lead over Democratic candidate Dan Wolgamott. Attorneys for both candidates were on hand as judges went through ballots from three counties one-by-one, flagging ballots with issues or discrepancies for later review.

Relph's lead shrunk from 148 votes to 141, according to unofficial data from the secretary of state's office. A previous recount in a close Plymouth Senate race also held up the GOP candidate as the winner.

The state's canvassing board will certify the recount results next. Even with a handful of challenged ballots, it's unlikely the final result will change much. An attorney for Wolgamott said in a statement that he expected his client to make an announcement about his plans by the end of the week.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka celebrated both apparent wins.

"Now that the recounts are complete and the final numbers are in, Senate Republicans are ready to focus on the important work of addressing the health care crisis and growing jobs in Minnesota," he said in a statement.

With slim hopes of drastic change in either recount tally, both parties had already begun preparing for a change of power in the Senate. Republicans elected Gazelka as their new leader and moved into the new nearby office building that they had spent the last three years campaigning against as wasteful.