MARSHALL - House 20A Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, won a special election Tuesday and will fill the late Sen. Gary Kubly's District 20 seat for the remainder of his term.
Koenen, who defeated John Schultz of Big Stone County in a March 27 special election primary, garnered 54 percent of the votes in Tuesday's election, compared to 40 percent for Republican Gregg Kulberg and 5 percent for Independent candidate Leon Greenslit.
Kubly, a DFLer from Granite Falls who served in the Legislature for 15 years as both a state representative and senator, died 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.
Koenen will take office Tuesday on a temporary basis. There will not be an election to fill his seat in the House, as the 2012 session is expected to adjourn before an election could take place.
Senate District 20 includes all of Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Renville, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties in western Minnesota.
This is Koenen's fifth term in the House. He announced in late February that he will run 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.