by Jim Boyle
Paul Novotny has defeated Kathy Ziebarth in a special primary election for House District 30A of the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. on Jan. 14 and unofficial results on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website show Novotny won by a vote of 1,136 to 170 for the right to challenge as a Republican in a Feb. 4 election.
DFLer Chad Hobot is also seeking the seat, and he was the lone DFL candidate on the primary ballot. He garnered 152 votes.
Gov. Tim Walz called a special election for Feb. 4 after Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, resigned from his post effective in early December 2019.
The Jan. 14 primary was needed because two Republicans sought to be on the Feb. 4 ballot. The purpose of the primary is to narrow the number of candidates to one for each political party.
Despite a spirited campaign lodged by Ziebarth, Novotny, who received the support of Zerwas and Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer and won an endorsement on the first round of balloting at an endorsing convention held Dec. 7 at Olde Main Eatery in downtown Elk River. Novotny collected nearly 87 percent of the vote. He also won every single precinct, according to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.
The final vote will be canvassed on Jan. 15.
Novotny graduated from Elk River High School, and earned degrees from Anoka-Ramsey Community College and North Hennepin Community College. He and his wife, Nicole, live in Elk River and have two daughters, Emily and Shelby.
Novotny is closing in on retirement from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department. During his career Novotny he served in many different assignments including patrol sergeant, investigative sergeant and firearms instructor for the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office. He has been involved in coaching youth sports, teaching firearms safety, leading a confirmation group at his church and is an active private pilot.
He is also a supporter of the ABBA Pregnancy Resource Center and REEL Hope, a non-profit that helps find forever homes for children waiting to be adopted, and is a member of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, the Elk River Sportsman’s Club and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
Ziebarth, a U.S. Air Force veteran and registered nurse anesthetist who lives in Big Lake with her husband and two children, was one of two candidates to seek the Republican endorsement.
Her interest in the work of the Minnesota Legislature began while she was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota when she was assigned to follow a legislator and a health care bill through the session. She has testified in committee in support of advanced practice nursing legislation.