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Koenen won the seat with 54 percent of the vote Tuesday evening, beating out GOP candidate Gregg Kulberg by nearly 15 percentage points. Independent candidate Leon Greenslit garnered about 5 percent of the vote in the sprawling new Senate district, which covers Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Renville, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties in western Minnesota.

Koenen wins special election in SD 20

Lyle Koenen

DFL Rep. Lyle Koenen has won a special election in Senate District 20, a seat vacated by the death of former DFL Sen. Gary Kubly.

Koenen won the seat with 54 percent of the vote Tuesday evening, beating out GOP candidate Gregg Kulberg by nearly 15 percentage points. Independent candidate Leon Greenslit garnered about 5 percent of the vote in the sprawling new Senate district, which covers Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Renville, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties in western Minnesota. Only about 7,200 ballots were cast, representing roughly 19 percent of the area’s registered voters.

Koenen, a five-term lawmaker from Clara City, defeated DFLer John Schultz in a March 27 special primary. He will temporarily fill the seat to finish Kubly’s term.

This weekend he will face an endorsement battle in the newly redrawn Senate district (now Senate District 17) against Willmar resident Larry Rice. The endorsed candidate will take on GOP Sen. Joe Gimse in the fall, who was also drawn into that district.

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