The Commission on Judicial Selection has forwarded recommendations to Gov. Mark Dayton for three open judge positions around the state.
In the 7th Judicial District, where Judge Michael Kirk was appointed to the state Court of Appeals, three candidates were recommended:
- Michael D. Fritz, the Becker County attorney.
- Johnathan R. Judd, a private attorney who also works as a public defender.
- Michelle Winkis Lawson, the chief assistant Clay County attorney.
The 7th Judicial District consists of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties.
In the 8th Judicial District, where Judges Steven Drange and Paul Nelson have retired, four candidates were recommended to the governor for two positions. They are
- Stephanie L. Beckman, the elected Meeker County attorney.
- Rodney C. Hanson. a lawyer in Willmar.
- Keith Helgeson, the Yellow Medicine County attorney.
- Thomas W. Van Hon, a private attorney who also serves as the city attorney for Fairfax and is an assistant public defender for the Minnesota Board of Public Defense.
The 8th Judicial District consists of Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wilkin and Yellow Medicine counties.