ST. PAUL, Minn. — Republican Nathan Nelson has won the special election to fill a vacant state House seat in east-central Minnesota.

Unofficial returns show Nelson beating Democrat Tim Burkhardt in Tuesday's election for the House District 11B seat. Nelson will fill the seat previously held by Jason Rarick, who was elected to the state Senate last month.

Nelson is a farmer from Clover Township near Hinckley and president of the Pine County Farm Bureau. The district covers most of Pine County and part of Kanabec County. Republicans have won the district by wide margins in recent elections.

Rarick, a Republican from Pine City, replaced Democrat Tony Lourey, who left the Senate to become Gov. Tim Walz's human services commissioner.