by Mike Knaak
Michelle Fischbach’s resignation from the Minnesota Senate means there will be a special election this fall for Senate District 13.
Fischbach resigned May 25 and took the oath of office for lieutenant governor, a post she’s legally held since January.
Current District 13A Rep. Jeff Howe and two democrats, Michael Willemsen and Joe Perske, have filed for the seat.
Howe, a Republican from Rockville, was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2016. Prior to his election to the legislature, Howe served on the Rockville City Council.
Willemsen from Sauk Rapids challenged Fischbach in 2016 and lost. He’s a group home site supervisor.
Perske is a former Sartell mayor and City Council member and a current Stearns County commissioner.
When former Lt. Gov. Tiny Smith resigned to take Al Franken’s vacated U.S. Senate seat, Fischbach who was president of the Senate, automatically became lieutenant governor as set forth in the Minnesota Constitution.
Fischbach’s assertion she could hold both her Senate seat and serve as lieutenant governor triggered lawsuits. One was thrown out in February and a second suit was set for a June hearing.
Fischbach, a Republican from Paynesville, has represented District 13 since 1996. The district includes Sartell and St. Joseph. Fischbach says she has no plans to run in the special election that will coincide with the Nov. 6 general election.
Fischbach’s resignation leaves the Senate evenly split with 33 Republicans and 33 Democrats.
Because the Legislature has adjourned, her resignation will not affect law-making.
Candidates have until June 5 to file and if necessary, there will be a primary election on Aug. 14.