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Primaries coming to special state senate election

Stu Lourey (from left), Michelle Lee, Justin Krych and Rep. Jason Rarick.

There will be primaries in the Minnesota Senate District 11 special election.

Retired Duluth news anchor Michelle Lee confirmed Friday she was filing to run in the special election, joining Stu Lourey on the ballot for a Jan. 22 DFL primary.

On the Republican side, state Rep. Jason Rarick announced his candidacy in a news release, and Justin Krych, of Esko, confirmed he will hold a news conference in Cloquet on Wednesday to announce his candidacy.

A special general election Feb. 5 was necessitated after state Sen. Tony Lourey was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services on Thursday by Gov.-elect Tim Walz.

Lee finished second to Joe Radinovich in a five-person Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary in the 8th Congressional District in August.  

“It’s going to be a madhouse,” Lee said of the crunched timeline to pull together a campaign.

Rarick currently represents District 11B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes portions of Kanabec and Pine counties.

“There’s a lot at stake at the Capitol right now so it’s important our senate district has a strong voice in St. Paul,” Rarick said in a news release.

Krych is an officer in the 8th Congressional District Republican Party.

Lee told the News Tribune she will run on a platform of health care for all, expansion of rural broadband, rebuilding infrastructure and job creation. Walz’s message of “One Minnesota,” resonated with Lee.

“I want to focus hard on rural and small communities,” Lee said.

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

Lourey’s son, Stu Lourey, announced his candidacy Thursday. The filing deadline ends Tuesday at 5 p.m.