Jason Rarick (R) defeated Stu Lourey (DFL) and Legal Marijuana Now candidate John Birrenbach in the special election for Minnesota State Senate District 11 on February 5. With all precincts reporting, Rarick received 52 percent of the vote to Lourey’s 46 percent.
Rarick’s win gives Republicans a three-seat majority in the Minnesota State Senate, up from the one-seat majority they held before state Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL) resigned from the District 11 seat in January.
Tony Lourey—DFL candidate Stu Lourey’s father—resigned after Governor Tim Walz (DFL) appointed him to serve as state human services commissioner, prompting the special election.
The district had been held by a Lourey since 1997. Tony Lourey was in the seat since 2007, and his mother, Becky Lourey (DFL), held the seat from 1997 to 2007. Donald Trump won the district in the 2016 presidential election by 13 points.
Before Tony Lourey’s resignation, Republicans held a 34-33 majority in the state Senate. Republicans gained that majority in the special election for Minnesota State Senate District 13 won by Jeff Howe (R) on November 6, 2018. The state Senate had been split 33-33 since May 2018, when Michelle Fischbach (R) resigned to serve as lieutenant governor.
Democrats control the governorship and the Minnesota House of Representatives. Minnesota is the only state in the U.S. with a divided legislature, meaning Republicans hold a majority in one chamber and Democrats, in the other.