ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican state Rep. Jeff Howe of Rockville is the first candidate to enter the race for the Minnesota Senate seat being vacated by Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville.

Howe entered a race Tuesday that will determine control of the state Senate. Republicans lost their one-seat majority last week when Fischbach stepped down. As Senate president, she automatically became lieutenant governor after Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton appointed then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate following Al Franken’s resignation.

READ MORE: Winter Flower Show

The special election for Fischbach’s seat will be the only Minnesota Senate seat on the November ballot.

READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 57 More Deaths Added To State's Toll; Positivity Still Inching Down

Her central Minnesota district is heavily Republican, and GOP leaders scoff at the notion that Democrats could win it. No Democrat has entered the race so far.

Howe was first elected to the House in 2012.

MORE NEWS: 'All I Can Do Is Work': Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Says He Was 'Meant To Be' Vikings' GM

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)