MARSHALL - The list of candidates looking to fill the Senate District 20 seat left vacant by the death of Gary Kubly has been narrowed to three after House 20A Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL, of Chippewa County, defeated John Schultz of Big Stone County in a special election primary Tuesday.
Koenen, who won with more than 66 percent of the vote Tuesday night, will face Republican Gregg Kulberg and Independent candidate Leon Greenslit, both of Renville County, in a special election to fill the seat April 10.
Whoever is elected will take office April 17 on a temporary basis. If it's Koenen, there would not be another election to fill his seat in the House, as the 2012 session is expected to adjourn before an election could take place.
Kubly was a DFLer from Granite Falls who served in the Legislature for 15 years as both a state representative and senator. He died Friday, March 2, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease). He was diagnosed with ALS in 2010.
Senate District 20 includes all of Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Renville, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties in western Minnesota.
Koenen announced in late February that he will run this fall for the senate seat in the newly-drawn SD17, which is now SD20. The district will lose Big Stone, Lac qui Parle, and Lincoln counties to redistricting, and will pick up Kandiyohi County to the east. DFLer Larry Rice of Willmar and Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, also intend to run for the SD17 seat.