The state Senate will remain in Republican control after Jeff Howe beat Joe Perske in the Senate District 13 special election.
Howe, who currently represents District 13A in the state House, collected 57 percent of the vote. Perske, a current Stearns County commissioner and former Sartell mayor, received 16,108 votes to Howe’s 21,714 votes.
The special election was needed when longtime senator Michelle Fischbach resigned last spring to run for lieutenant governor with Tim Pawlenty. They lost in the August primary. With Howe’s win, Republicans will have 34 Senate seats compared with the Democrats’ 33. Meanwhile, Democrats claimed control of the state House of Representatives with big wins in the Twin Cities suburbs. Democrats kept their control of all statewide officers with Tim Walz winning election as governor and Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith winning re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Howe performed well in the Rockville, Cold Spring and Richmond areas, places he represented in the state House. Perske racked up his strongest showing in St. Joseph, parts of Sartell and Sauk Rapids.
Howe will serve a two-year term.
District 13 runs from Sauk Rapids, Sartell and St. Joseph south through the Kimball area and then west to the Paynesville area.