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Primary March 27 to decide DFL candidate on special election ballot

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CLARA CITY -- Two DFL'ers have filed to serve the remaining term of the state senate seat held by late Sen. Gary Kubly.

Rep. Lyle Koenen of Clara City and John Schultz of Correll filed.

It means a primary will be held March 27 to decide the DFL candidate on the ballot. Both filed Friday in their home counties.

The special election to fill the seat will be held April 10. Filing for the special election continues until 5 p.m. today.

Schultz, 71, is active with the DFL party. He currently serves as a consultant to candidates and non-profits.

He worked on the statewide campaigns of Mark Ritchie and Mike Freeman.

He was owner and operator of the Hickery Ridge Farms in Correll and previously sought the party's endorsement for the House seat held by Andrew Falk of Murdock.

Koenen, 55, is currently the state representative for District 20B. He is serving his fifth term.

He originally operated a dairy and livestock operation with his brother. In recent years he has served as a contract milk hauler and school bus driver.

Koenen said he decided to run in the special election due to his longtime relationship with Kubly, and his surviving spouse, Pat, as well as encouragement from Democrats in the district. Kubly died March 2 in St. Paul. He was diagnosed last year with ALS.

Koenen said he decided to run only after meeting with Pat Kubly and getting her input.

State law requires that a special election be held for the seat.

If he wins election to fill the remainder of Kubly's term, Koenen said he would resign from the House. It's not yet clear if a special election would be needed for that seat.

Koenen previously announced his intentions of seeking the new District 17 seat. Koenen and Willmar businessman Larry Rice will be vying for the endorsement to challenge incumbent Joe Gimse, R-Willmar.

The new Senate District 17 will include all or parts of Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties.

Schultz has indicated he will file for the new Senate District 12 seat. It includes all or parts of Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stearns, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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