Nov 16, 2023 - Politics

Special primary for vacant Dakota County legislative seat to be held Thursday

Minnesota House District 52B
Map: Axios Visuals

Some suburban Twin Cities voters are heading to the polls Thursday for a special election to fill a vacant legislative seat.

Driving the news: A special primary for House District 52B, which opened up when former DFL Rep. Ruth Richardson resigned in September to focus full-time on her new role as president of Planned Parenthood North Central States.

  • The seat, which Richardson won in 2022 with more than 60% of the vote in 2022, includes Mendota and parts of Mendota Heights and Eagan.

State of play: Four candidates are running for the DFL nomination: Mendota Heights City Council Member Jay Miller, former DFL legislative aide Cynthia Callais,  school board member Bianca Virnig, and Chris Whitfield, an Eagan Advisory Planning Commission member and local DFL officer.

  • A Republican and a Libertarian also filed for the seat, but no primary is needed as they didn't attract any competition.

Of note: The local DFL chapter didn't endorse in the race.

Be smart: Polls are open from 7am to 8pm. A polling place finder is available via the Secretary of State.

What's next: The winner of Thursday's primary will face off in a Dec. 5 special general election against 2022 and 2020 Republican nominee Cynthia Lonnquist and Libertarian Charles Kuchlenz in a Dec. 5.

  • That will allow them to take office in time for the next session, which begins in February.

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