Minnesota statute spells out how the St. Louis County board can go about replacing Pete Stauber once his seat is formally vacated.

If Stauber doesn't resign sooner, the vacation would occur when he is sworn in as Congressman in January.

The state statute gives the county board two choices:

• Call a special election to be held on either the second Tuesday of February, March, April, May, August or November. The board can leave the seat open until voters pick a replacement.

• Appoint a temporary replacement, after holding a public hearing on the issue, to fill the Stauber seat until a special election is held an a permanent replacement is certified and assumes the position. (If the next general election were less than a year away the temporary replacement could remain seated until then. But because it's now nearly two years away, a special election must be held.)

St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin said he was sending a memo to county commissioners this week explaining their legal options for the position. Rubin said that April is probably the earliest as special election would be held.

The county last held a special election, under mostly the same statutes, when Commissioner Steve O'Neil died in 2013. The board appointed O'Neil's wife, Angie Miller, to serve from September until a January special election won by Patrick Boyle.

Stauber's district covers the cities of Proctor, Hermantown, Rice Lake and the arc of townships that surround Duluth.