An already momentous election year for Minnesota grew even more intriguing on Friday, following the resignation of Sen. Michelle Fischbach.
The long-serving senator automatically became Minnesota's lieutenant governor when former Lt. Gov. Tina Smith was appointed to Al Franken's U.S. Senate seat in January.
Fischbach (R–Paynesville) had resisted giving up her state senate seat despite two lawsuits being filed to force her to step down, as state laws arguably dictated she should.
But with the second of those due to be heard next month, Fischbach reversed her stance and announced her resignation from the Senate, taking up the Lt. Gov. position full-time beside Gov. Mark Dayton.
The implications of this move could be significant, as it now puts the Minnesota Senate in play in a year where no seats were up for election.
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By staying on as a senator during the recent legislative session, Fischbach gave the Republicans a 34-33 advantage in the senate.
Now she's gone, the senate is deadlocked and 33-33 and a special election has been triggered for this November.
Fischbach, who was elected to the seat in 1996, said on Friday that she doesn't intend to run in that election.
It means new Republican and Democrat candidates will battle it out for overall control of the senate, with Minnesota's other 66 senators not up for re-election until 2020.
In a year in which 2 U.S. Senate seats are being contested, as well as a series of extremely tight U.S. House races, this is another reason why all eyes will be on Minnesota this November.
That said – Fischbach won re-election with an overwhelming 68.7 percent of the vote in 2016 – so you've got to figure the GOP are the favorites to retain senate control.