Control of the Minnesota Senate is now up for grabs in November

It follows the resignation of Michelle Fischbach – now the full-time lieutenant governor.
Publish date:

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.

Today's Top Stories

– Geese, other wildlife stained with oil following Superior refinery fire.

– Charges: Stalker followed women home from fancy ballroom.

– Want more news? Sign up for our daily newsletters.

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.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 6.26.50 PM

Minnesota nurse's story about her battle with COVID-19 goes viral

A month later, Ashley Walter is on a hard road to recovery.

Adam Thielen

Report: Still on COVID-19 list, Thielen not expected to play Sunday

Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday.

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 9.29.12 AM

Target reveals its 'Cyber Week' online deals

The sales will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

Minneapolis police

Mayor Frey, Minneapolis police chief reveal new 'no-knock' policy

The new policy for Minneapolis Police Department was announced Wednesday.

Teddy Bridgewater

Coller: It's a what-if Sunday with Teddy Bridgewater's return

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Ambulance hospital emergency

15-month-old girl's death being investigated by police in Fargo

The child died four days after being found unresponsive.


Democrats takes control of the Minnesota House

It mirrored what happened at the national level.

What's going on with the Minnesota House and Senate?

While national lawmakers jockey for control of the U.S. House and Senate, Minnesota also has its own legislature to worry about.

Proposing gun control bills, students warn: 'Come November, we will vote'

Democrats have proposed a dozen gun control bills, and hope at least some will get a hearing.

Michelle Fischbach to challenge Rep. Collin Peterson in CD-7

The former lieutenant governor is looking to unseat the Democrat.

Calls for gun control mark first day of new legislative session

The new House leader says the DFL will be proposing 2 gun safety bills.

Tim Pawlenty won't seek endorsement at GOP convention

He'll focus his efforts on the Republican primary, he confirmed.

Why is Minnesota now forecasting a budget deficit?

It's the first time since 2013 the state is projected to lose money.