Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff Report
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Special election to be held


January 10, 2019

Gov. Mark Dayton declared a special election for Tony Lourey’s vacated seat in the state senate to be held on February 5. Seven candidates filed in the race — four Republicans, two Democrats and a Legal Marijuana Now candidate.

A Republican endorsing convention was held on Tuesday, January 8, at Tobies in Hinckley and no results were available as of deadline on Tuesday. However, a republican primary may be held on January 22 if the non-endorsed candidates do not withdraw their filing by the deadline of Wednesday, January 9.

Deputy Chair of the 8th Congressional District Republican Party Justin Krych of Esko, current District 11B State Representative Jason Rarick, Pine City Mayor Carl Pederson, and Matthias M. Shir of Pine City have filed for Republican candidacy.

Justin M. Krych of Esko is the deputy chair of the 8th Congressional District Republican Party and owner of Conflict Management Services, a mediation practice specializing in family, small claims, housing, and workplace mediation and conflict consultations. Justin has been a pastor for 15 years and currently serves the congregations of Hope Evangelical Church in Cotton, Minnesota, and Grace Church in Cloquet, Minnesota, as a lay minister.

Pine City Mayor Carl Pederson is an Army veteran and is retired from both Sandstone and Duluth Federal Prisons. He has served as Mayor of Pine City for two terms and is currently in his third term.

Minnesota District 11B State Representative Jason Rarick, of Pine City, was first elected to office in 2014 and again elected in 2016 and 2018. He is a self-employed electrical contractor. Rarick serves on the Labor (Lead), Energy and Climate Finance & Policy, Environmental and Natural Resources Finance & Policy committees in the Minnesota House.

Matthias Shir, of Pine City, has also filed and says he is a constitutionalist candidate.

Democratic candidates, Michelle Lee (Moose Lake) and Stu Lourey (Kerrick), will participate in a primary scheduled for January 22 to determine who will move forward to the February 5 special election. The Democratic endorsing convention is scheduled for January 19 in Barnum.

Michelle Lee, retired Duluth TV news anchor, ran in a crowded field for Rick Nolan’s seat in the primary for Congressional District 8 last year but lost to Joe Radinovich. That seat was eventually won by Republican Pete Stauber in the general election.

Stuart Lourey, who is running to fill the seat held by his father Tony and previously held by his grandmother Becky Lourey, has served with former U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Sen. Tina Smith.

John “Sparky” Birrenbach, the Legal Marijuana Now candidate, is a veteran and small business owner in Pine City.

Senate District 11 represents all of Carlton and Pine counties, eastern Kanabec County, and a portion of southern St. Louis County.

The special election comes after Pine County’s Tony Lourey (Kerrick) was appointed to state leadership positions last Thursday by Governor-elect Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan. Lourey was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and Petersen was appointed commissioner of the state’s Department of Agriculture.

Lourey, 51, has resigned his Minnesota District 11 Senate seat to take the position. According to the press release, Lourey, elected in 2006, served as chair of the Health and Human Services Finance committee from 2013 to 2016 and helped the state expand health care coverage and implement the changes brought by the Affordable Care Act.

How do I vote?

Voting will occur similar to a general election with local precincts open on January 22 (democratic primary) and February 5 (special election for all parties).

Absentee voting ballots, according to Pine County Auditor/Treasurer Kelly Schroeder, can be requested online at or by stopping at the Pine County, Carlton County, Kanabec County, or St. Louis County courthouses’ auditor departments.

Absentee ballots may be requested over the phone by calling the Pine County Courthouse at (320) 591-1670 or by faxing in a absentee ballot request via fax to the Pine County Courthouse at (320) 591-1671.

Schroeder said for the January 22 primary, absentee voting at the Pine County Courthouse will be open on Saturday, January 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and January 21 (Martin Luther King Day) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

She added that for the February 5 special election, absentee voting at the Pine County Courthouse will begin January 28 with the courthouse open Saturday, February 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Carlton County, Treasurer/Auditor Paul Gassert said online absentee requests have begun. Voters may also call the auditor’s office at (218) 384-9127. When ballot materials are available, the office will send them out. For the January 22 primary, the courthouse will be open Saturday, January 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as on January 21 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For the February 5 election, Carlton County will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 2. On election day, they will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters in St. Louis County can cast an absentee ballot during the courthouse’s regular hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Deputy Auditor Phil Chapman did not know if the courthouse would be open on Monday, January 21 because of Martin Luther King Day. If voters in southern St. Louis have questions regarding requesting an absentee ballot or the special election, they can call (218) 726-2385.

If voting via absentee ballot through the mail, ballots need to arrive at the correct destination by 5 p.m. on election day or primary day. Call your auditor's office to find out if absentee ballots may be dropped off directly to their office.

Residents of District 11 can also register to vote online or on the day of the election.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 03/30/2020 16:48