GOP primaries needed ahead of two special elections

The two special elections scheduled next month to fill Minnesota legislative vacancies will first need Republican primaries.

In Senate District 54 in Washington County and northeastern Dakota County, two Republicans filed for the special election before the deadline Thursday. Former state Rep. Denny McNamara of Hastings and James Brunsgaard III of Hastings will square off in a special primary Jan. 29. The winner will advance to the special election Feb. 12.

Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham of Cottage Grove is the lone DFL candidate in District 54. Emily Mellingen of Hastings filed as a Libertarian candidate.

In House District 23B, Republicans Jeremy Munson of Lake Crystal and Scott Sanders of St. James will face off in a special primary, also on Jan. 29.

Melissa Wagner of Lake Crystal is the DFL candidate for the Feb. 12 special election. The district includes parts of Blue Earth, LeSueur, Waseca and Watonwan counties.

The two legislative vacancies were created when DFL Sen. Dan Schoen and Republican Rep. Tony Cornish resigned amid separate allegations of sexual misconduct.