Dayton to Call Special Election After Lawmaker Resignations

November 22, 2017 10:52 PM

Governor Dayton said he will move quickly to set a date for a special election to fill the seats of two state lawmakers who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

"We have to navigate through the holidays, but it is important that a date be set to fill those seats prior to the next session of the Legislature which starts Feb. 20," Dayton said.


Rep. Tony Cornish, (R) Vernon Center, and State Senator, Dan Schoen, (DFL) St. Paul Park, quit their legislative jobs amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Larry Jacobs, director of the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said the race to fill Schoen's vacated seat will be hotly contested.

RELATED: Attorney Releases Schoen's Resignation Letter, Tries to Refute Allegations

"The Republicans hold the Senate by only one vote and Shoen's district is a swing district, so they will be working hard to try to expand their lead in the Senate," Jacobs said. "And the DFL will have a battle on its hands to stay within that one-vote margin."

Jacobs said within Schoen's  district there are already two Republican House members, which shows it is a district that both parties have a shot at winning.

"You will see quite a push in Schoen's district and it will start right away because there will only be a short window to get your name and message out there as a candidate", said Jacobs.

RELATED: Schoen, Cornish Plan to Resign from Legislature Amid Sexual Harassment

In the southern House District currently held by Rep. Cornish, it is a completely different story, according to Jacobs.

"It is pretty clear that the district represented by Cornish is strongly Republican and it is almost a certainty that whoever the GOP candidate is in that district will likely win", said Jacobs.

Cornish said he will leave the Legislature no later than Dec. 1 and Schoen said his last day on the job at the Capitol is Dec. 15.


Jay Kolls

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