McGuire beats Lesch in SD 66 DFL primary; heads to April 12 special election

Former state Rep. Mary Jo McGuire is well on her way to becoming state Sen. Mary Jo McGuire after winning Tuesday’s DFL primary in Senate District 66.

McGuire used her strength in the Falcon Heights portion of the district to beat state Rep. John Lesch, of St. Paul, who represents half the district in the House, and had support from construction and teacher unions, as well as the endorsement of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

McGuire won the three-way race handily, beating Lesch 54 percent to 36 percent; attorney Steven Marchese came in third, with almost 10 percent of the votes.

Next, McGuire will face Republican candidate Greg Copeland in the April 12 special election. The district has long been DFL-dominated, so McGuire is favored to win.

The special election was called to fill the seat vacated by veteran state Sen. Ellen Anderson, who was appointed chair of the Public Utilities Commission by Gov. Mark Dayton.

McGuire had served as state representative from the same basic area from 1988 to 2002 but decided not to run again because her area was redistricted and she would have faced state DFL Rep. Alice Hausman, who still represents District 66B.

McGuire did get Hausman’s endorsement in the primary, which also helped in Tuesday’s win.

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