After four rounds of balloting Thursday night in Clara City DFL delegates from Senate District 17 failed to endorse a candidate to run for Senate, making a primary election necessary.
In the end it didn’t really matter that Rep. Lyle Koenen of Clara City or Larry Rice from Willmar didn’t garner enough votes to meet the 60 percent quota for gaining endorsement.
The West Central Tribune reports both candidates announced at the start of the convention that they would not suspend their campaign for Senate if the other candidate was endorsed.
After the fourth ballot, Koenen had 85 votes and Rice has 71 votes.
On a voice vote, the delegates agreed to not endorse a candidate.
Buoyed by his win Tuesday in a special election to fill the remaining term of the late Sen. Gary Kubly, Koenen said he was encouraged by colleagues to seek voters’ approval in the primary election in August for the right to challenge Republican Senator Joe Gimse of Willmar in November.
Rice, who took on Gimse two years ago in the Senate race, said the close delegate vote showed that delegates were evenly divided on who they preferred.