Voters take to polls in Minnesota to fill vacancies created by sex harassment resignations

Senate and House seats are both up for grabs.

What's happening?

Two special elections are being held in Minnesota on Monday to fill two seats vacated when members of the state's House and Senate resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.

In mid-December, DFL Sen. Dan Schoen resigned in Senate District 54, which covers parts of Washington and Dakota counties in the southeast metro.

This was a few weeks after GOP Rep. Tony Cornish stepped own from District 23B, which covers areas of Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Waseca and Watonwan counties in southeast Minnesota.


– Both MN lawmakers accused of sexual harassment will resign.

Who's running? 

Senate District 54B will see DFLer Karla Bigham and Republican Denny McNamara fighting for the seat.

In the House 23B race, voters will have the choice between Republican Jeremy Munson and DFL candidate Melissa Wagner.

The Senate race in particular could have significant implications for the composition of the Minnesota Senate.

Currently Republicans hold it by a narrow margin, but if Bigham wins and then a judge rules that current GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach cannot serve as both a senator and as the new Lieutenant Governor (after Tina Smith became as U.S. Senator), then the Senate would be tied 33-33.

There's a lot of interest in these elections

Seemingly every special election held since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency has been scrutinized as a gauge for how things will shake out in the November mid-terms.

Analysts are predicting a "blue wave" of Democrat votes that would make Bigham a favorite in the Senate race, given the previous incumbent Schoen was himself a Democrat.

Wagner will face a more difficult task winning the House race, given the more conservative district she's aiming to represent, but a win for her could portend bad things for Republicans come November.

The Star Tribune notes that money has been pouring in for both races. 

Celebrities meanwhile have even been taking an interest in the special elections, with TV host Chelsea Handler tweeting about the female candidates she wants to see replace two men who resigned over alleged sexual misconduct.

Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis meanwhile has been doing his part to support McNamara in his district.

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