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Sprint for the Senate District 11 Seat

Updated: January 09, 2019 08:38 PM

Each candidate realizes they are facing a major time crunch, in the sprint to fill the Senate District 11 spot. 

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On Wednesday, Republicans presented a united front, as they fight to make that seat red. Rep. Jason Rarick received the endorsement from the party on Tuesday night. And the other two men who had filed to run, withdrew their candidacy to pave the way for Rarick.

"We're hitting the ground running. We've got 28 days," shared Rarick. He plans on putting a lot of miles on the car, to attend committee meetings in St. Paul, and run a campaign at the same time. A union electrician for 25 years, he feels confident in the way his district will vote. "Many people in the trades are realizing that the Democrats have left them. We are reaching moderate Democrats," he added.

He stood at the joint press conference in Cloquet with Justin Krych, who had also wanted to run for the spot. "I've been a leader in the Republican party for 22 years, and I place tremendous value in the endorsement process. Even though I wanted to be that candidate, I now fully support Jason," Krych explained. 

They want the seat held by someone named Lourey for more than two decades.  First by Becky Lourey, then her son Tony. Now Tony's son, Stu, is aiming for it.

"I'm proud of the history of public service. I grew up with those values. I think voters in the district are looking to know that I am going to earn this on my own. And I'm going to prove that in the next weeks," he shared from the family farm in Kerrick. He's worked with Senators Tina Smith and Al Franken. But has seen a groundswell of support, even after a bruising campaign season.

"It's January, and we just finished an election. You'd think folks would be tired. But I'm seeing them excited. They know how important this race is to the district, to St. Paul, and for the whole state," he added.

The other Democrat seeking the spot is Michelle Lee, who had been part of the 2018 campaign season. She ran for the 8th district spot in Congress, before coming in second in the DFL primary. She just met Stu Lourey the other night, but has known his grandmother for years. "I think it's time to send another strong woman to the state senate," she said.

Lee still has the energy and motivation from her campaign last year, and will use that experience in this new race, with the same priorities.

"The issues facing rural Minnesota, small towns and communities, are creating affordable education, affordable health care, and job creation," she maintains.

The DFL endorsing convention is coming up on January 19th in Barnum. That's just a few days ahead of the primary, which is January 22nd.

The special election is set for February 5th. Legal Marijuana Party Now candidate John 'Sparky' Birrenbach is also running.

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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