UPDATE: Filing period closes, 7 candidates to run for Dist. 11 seat

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UPDATE: The filing period has ended, and seven candidates are running in the special election for Minnesota’s District 11 State Senate Seat.

The spot was vacated when State Senator Tony Lourey, a Democrat, was appointed to lead the state’s Department of Human Services.

Two separate primary elections, one for the Republicans and the other for Democrats, will be held on January 22 before the main election on February 5.

On the Republican side, those running include: Justin Krych, Jason Rarick, Matthias Shir, and Carl Pederson.

One the Democratic side, Michelle Lee will face Stu Lourey in a Primary.

John “Sparky” Birrenbach is running with the Legal Marijuana Now party.

District 11 represents the Pine, Kanabec, Carlton and St. Louis Counties areas at the state capitol.

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UPDATE: A sixth candidate has announced his intentions to run for Minnesota’s open state senate seat.

Matthias Shir, who’s running as a Republican, filed for candidacy Monday. He’s seeking the District 11 state senate seat that was vacated by democratic Sen. Tony Lourey when he was appointed to lead the state’s Department of Human Services.

Fellow republicans Justin Krych and Jason Rarick have also filed to represent the the Pine, Kanabec, Carlton and St. Louis Counties at the state capitol.

On the democratic side, former news anchor Michelle Lee, and Stu Lourey–Tony Lourey’s son–have filed for the seat.

John “Sparky” Birrenbach, with the Legal Marijuana Now party, has also filed.

Candidates have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to officially file their paperwork.

A primary will be held January 22, and a special election is scheduled for February 5.

A photo of Shir and Birrenbach was not immediately available Monday.

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UPDATE: Five candidates have announced that they plan to seek the District 11 State Senate seat in an upcoming special election.

The election is to fill the seat being vacated by State Senator Tony Lourey, who was recently appointed Commissioner of the Department of Human Services.

On the Republican side, Representative Jason Rarick and Esko resident Justin Krych plan to run.

On the Democratic side, retired news anchor Michelle Lee and Stu Lourey, Tony Lourey’s son, have both announced their candidacy.

John “Sparky” Birrenbach, with the Legal Marijuana Now party, also filed to run Friday.

The two DFL candidates and two Republican candidates will square off in January 22 primary.

A general election will be held February 5.

The deadline to file for this race is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

A photo of Birrenbach was not immediately available Friday.

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UPDATE: A fourth candidate has announced that they plan to seek the District 11 State Senate seat in an upcoming special election.

Justin Krych, from Esko, announced he plans to run as a Republican for the seat being vacated by State Senator Tony Lourey, who was recently appointed Commissioner of the Department of Human services.

Republican Representative Jason Rarick is also running for the seat.

On the Democratic side, retired news anchor Michelle Lee and Stu Lourey, Tony Lourey’s son, have both announced their candidacy.

The two DFL candidates and two Republican candidates will square off in January 22 primary. A general election will be held February 5.

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ST. PAUL, MN – Within 24 hours of Gov. Elect Tim Walz appointing Sen. Tony Lourey as the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, three well-known names have emerged seeking to take over his District 11 seat.

Retired news anchor, Michelle Lee, announced Friday her intentions of seeking the seat representing Pine, Kanabec, Carlton and St. Louis Counties.

Lee unsuccessfully ran in the DFL primary for the Minnesota 8th Congressional race in 2018.

In a statement,  Lee said her congressional campaign, along with her 30 year career as a broadcast journalist and long-time resident of the area, had provided her with the “background and knowledge needed to understand and promote the needs and desires of the residents of this district in the Minnesota Senate.”

Lourey’s son, Stu, announced Thursday he was running for his father’s seat. Lourey has worked in the district for Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Tina Smith, where he worked to push legislation to help people living in rural areas access health care, provide students with school-based mental health support, and improve prevention, treatment and recovery for the opioid epidemic.

“I’ll focus on the issues that are weighing most heavily on families here in the district. Working on policy in this area—and having conversations with doctors, tribal leaders, teachers, and others—I most often heard about the need to make healthcare more affordable, the importance of strong schools, and ways we can build a strong economy.”

Lourey and Lee will square off in a January 22 DFL primary.

Republican Representative Jason Rarick also announced Friday he’s running to replace the outgoing senator.

Rep. Rarick was first elected to House District 11B in 2014 defeating an incumbent legislator and was reelected in 2016 and 2018.

There’s a lot at stake at the Capitol right now so it’s important our Senate district has a strong voice in St. Paul,” said Rep. Rarick. “I am excited to take the experience I’ve gained over four years in the House of Representatives and put it to work for the people of Pine, Kanabec, Carlton and St. Louis Counties.”

The winner in the DFL primary will advance to a special election set for February 5.

The filing deadline for candidates is 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 8.

Kevin Jacobsen

Kevin Jacobsen

News Director
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