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Minnesota Senate Republicans double one-seat majority in special election

Jason Rarick1 / 2
From left, Jason Rarick, Stu Lourey and John "Sparky" Birrenbach2 / 2

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Senate Republicans doubled their one-seat majority Tuesday, Feb. 5, as voters cast ballots in a special election in east-central Minnesota.

With all precincts reporting, Republican state Rep. Jason Rarick, of Pine City, defeated Democrat Stu Lourey by 52 percent to 46 percent.

Republicans had just a one-seat majority in the Senate before newly elected Gov. Tim Walz appointed Democrat Tony Lourey to his Cabinet. The Senate is their only lever of power at the Capitol, and flipping the District 11 seat added to their margin.

Tony Lourey’s son Stu, who has worked as a legislative aide to Sen. Tina Smith, was running for his father’s seat.

The race also included John Birrenbach of the Legal Marijuana Now party. He got about 2 percent of the vote.