Howe, Perske seek to replace Fischbach in Senate

Republican Lt. Governor Michelle Fischbach.
Republican Lt. Governor Michelle Fischbach takes questions from reporters during a press conference inside the State Office Building in St. Paul, Minn. on Thursday, May 31, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Two familiar central Minnesota faces will be facing off for the state Senate seat held since 1996 by Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach.

State Rep. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville, and Stearns County Commissioner Joe Perske filed for the District 13 seat. The district is west of St. Cloud and includes Sartell, St. Joseph, Cold Spring and Paynesville.

Jeff Howe
Republican State Representative Jeff Howe, an Emmer supporter, represents eastern Stearns Country said at the Minnesota Transportation Alliance Meeting in St. Cloud on Sept. 22, 2014, that he thinks Emmer is a shoo-in to win the November election because the 6th District is conservative.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News 2014

Fischbach resigned from her Senate seat May 25 and took the oath of office as lieutenant governor.

Sartell mayor Joe Perske
Sartell mayor Joe Perske campaigned for Congress at Game Fair in Ramsey, Minn., in August, 2014.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News 2014

She had involuntarily stepped into the post after Gov. Mark Dayton named then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith as a U.S. senator to replace Al Franken.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty then named Fischbach his running mate in his quest for his old office.

Howe, a retired firefighter and lieutenant colonel in the Minnesota National Guard, was first elected to the House District 13A seat in 2012.

Perske, a DFLer, is a longtime teacher and a former mayor of Sartell. He ran unsuccessfully for the 6th Congressional District seat in 2014, losing to Tom Emmer.

The outcome of the District 13 race will determine which party controls the Minnesota Senate, which is evenly split with 33 Republicans and 33 Democrats.