NORTH BRANCH, Minn — On Tuesday, Republican Anne Neu will face off against Democratic challenger Laurie Warner to complete the 2016 election cycle.
Secretary of State Steve Simons instituted a special election for house district 32B after a local activist group discovered Sen. Bob Barrett (R-Shafer) did not live in the district he served as Representative.
Barrett rented a home in Taylor Falls, MN after redistricting left his primary residence out of district lines. Barrett would remain on the November ballot according to a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling in September. The ballot was then thrown out and a special election was set for February.
According to Minnesota Statute 204B.13, subdivision 2. “in the case of a vacancy in nomination for a partisan office that occurs after the 79th day before the general election, the general election shall remain unchanged, but the county and state canvassing boards must not certify the vote totals for that office from the general election, and the office must be filled by a special election held in accordance with this section.”
Surprisingly, the election is a hot button issue as both Republicans and Democrats test the waters for the 2018 election.
Trump did exceptionally well in Chisago County winning 61 percent of the vote, compared to Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton who only received 31 percent of the vote. Stewart Mills also did well in the district against incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan (D).
However, the election could predict the challenges both Parties could face in 2018. If Warner wins, Republicans could find themselves at a disadvantage in 2018 as the Trump wave experienced in 2016 may be winding down after the President’s first month in office.
Should Neu win, optimism for a Democratic comeback in 2018 could prove difficult and signal worsening troubles for the party.
Neu is expected to win Tuesday’s election based on voter totals in November, but special elections have lower turnouts compared to general elections.
However, both Democrats and Republicans have put their efforts into the district. Social media posts show support from lawmakers at the Capitol.
Over the weekend, House Speaker Kurt Daudt posted a picture of himself, along with Rep. Drew Christensen, Sen. Mark Koran, Rep. Cal Bahr and others door knocked with Neu in the district.
The State DFL party posted photos over the weekend of different events they held for Warner, encouraging those to vote Tuesday.
Polls close at 8 p.m. CST Tuesday night.
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