Nearly 20,000 registered voters in St. Louis County’s 5th District will be called upon to fill the seat vacated by Congressman Pete Stauber.

The St. Louis County Board unanimously approved a special election for later this year to fill the Stauber term which runs through 2020.

The board gave final approval at its meeting Tuesday in Virginia to a May-August election cycle. A May 14 primary will be followed by an Aug. 13 general election for the 5th District seat serving the cities and townships immediately surrounding Duluth, including Hermantown, Proctor and Rice Lake.

“There’s sure to be a tremendous pool of candidates,” Commissioner Keith Nelson told the News Tribune earlier this month. “I’ve personally spoken to five people who have interest in it, and I’ve told them all the same thing: ‘You’re going to get the opportunity.’”

The winner of the general election will take a seat on the County Board immediately.

The filing period for candidates will be Feb. 19 through March 5. Cost to file for a county office is $50, and can be done at the St. Louis County Auditor’s Office in room 214 of the St. Louis County Courthouse, 100 N. Fifth Ave. W., Duluth, or by mail.  

Annual salary for a county commissioner is $63,648.70.

The 5th District features 12 precincts and 10 jurisdictions, said Phil Chapman, County Board clerk and director of elections for St. Louis County. There are 19,336 current registered voters in the district, Chapman reported on Tuesday.

Stauber was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as the 8th Congressional District representative in November. He resigned from the County Board effective Jan. 2, and is now serving in Congress.     

State statute allows the County Board to appoint a temporary replacement in advance of the special elections. But the County Board never addressed appointment, agreeing instead to let the voters decide Stauber’s replacement.

In the meantime, the six remaining commissioners have agreed to take up matters in the 5th District collectively until the vacancy is filled.

The election includes the following precincts: Brevator Township, Canosia Township, Duluth Township, Gnesen Township, city of Hermantown (three precincts), Lakewood Township, Midway Township, city of Proctor, city of Rice Lake and Solway Township.