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Special primary election is today in Senate District 20

WILLMAR - Voters in west central Minnesota's Senate District 20 will go to the polls today for a special primary election to fill the vacancy in office caused by the death of Sen. Gary Kubly.

The Granite Falls DFL lawmaker died earlier this month from Lou Gerhig's disease.

Today's primary in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties is the first step in the election process that includes another election April. 10.

Four candidates have filed for office including Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, John Schultz, DFL-Correll, Leon Greenslit, Independence Party, Olivia and Gregg Kulberg, R-Hector.

Although the names of all four candidates are on the ballot, the real race today is between the two DFL candidates -- Koenen and Schultz.

Only one of the DFL candidates will advance to the special election April 10. That's when a new senator from District 20 will be elected.

According to Patricia K. Turgeon, assistant communications director for the Secretary of State's office, whoever is elected will take office April 17.

If Koenen wins, Turgeon said there will be no need to hold another election to fill Koenen's current House seat because the legislative session is expected to adjourn before an election could be held.

Under state law, an election must be held if a vacancy occurs while the Legislature is in session.

Whoever is elected will hold the title of District 20 senator only until the end of the year. Then, because of redistricting, the district takes on a new geographical shape and new name: Senate District 17. A new slate of candidates will run in that race. Three have already said they intend to run, including Koenen and fellow DFLer Larry Rice of Willmar, and Senator Joe Gimse, R-Willmar.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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