Rep. Lyle Koenen (DFL-Clara City) won Tuesday’s special election in Senate District 20 over GOP candidate Gregg Kulberg. The seat was vacated by the late Sen. Gary Kubly, who passed away on March 2 after a two-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
With roughly 7200 votes cast, Koenen received 54 percent of the vote to Kulberg’s 40 percent. Independence candidate Leon Greenslit garnered 5 percent.
Koenen will serve the remainder of Sen. Kubly’s term. A special election will not be called for District 20B to replace Rep. Koenen because the legislature will adjourn before an election could take place.
The election results will be certified later this week, though Koenen would not be sworn in until after the legislature returns from the Easter/Passover recess, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
The currently configured Senate District 20 includes Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Renville, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties in western Minnesota. Because of redistricting, Koenen’s senate district will lose Big Stone, Lac qui Parle and Lincoln County, while adding Kandiyohi County.
Unfortunately for the new Senator, the battle continues this weekend for the newly redrawn Senate District 17 seat. Koenen will face an endorsement battle against DFL candidate Larry Rice from Willmar. Current Senator Joe Gimse (R-Willmar) was also drawn into District 17 and will face the winner of the DFL endorsement in November.