On May 19, 2020, Justice Paul Thissen announced that he had filed to run in the 2020 election for the Minnesota Supreme Court.
“I am excited to launch my campaign, even in these trying circumstances… My first years as a justice have confirmed how deeply our courts touch the lives of Minnesotans in the most fundamental ways,” Thissen said.
Thissen filed for the ballot by mail due to changes that the state made to its election procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The filing period is open until 5 p.m. on June 2.
Judges of the Minnesota Supreme Court are chosen in nonpartisan elections to six-year terms. Interim vacancies are filled via gubernatorial appointment. Appointed judges serve until the next general election occurring more than one year after their appointment. They may then stand for election to a full term, and other candidates may file to run against them. Each current member of the state supreme court was initially appointed rather than elected.
Thissen was first appointed to the court in 2018 by Gov. Mark Dayton (D). He was appointed to fill the vacancy of Justice David Stras, who was appointed by President Donald Trump (R) to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Thissen was Gov. Dayton’s fifth appointment to the state supreme court.
The primary election for Justice Thissen’s seat on the state supreme court will take place on August 11, 2020. The general election for the seat will take place on November 3, 2020.
Before becoming a state supreme court justice, Thissen was a registered member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party and served in the state legislature for eight terms.
He served as Speaker of the House and Minority Leader. He ran for governor in 2010 but suspended his campaign when he was considered as an applicant to fill the vacancy on the state supreme court.