The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered that the name of DFL state Rep. Kerry Gauthier of Duluth, who was involved in a sex scandal with a 17-year-old boy this summer, be removed from the general election ballot.

The court Tuesday agreed with the position taken by the DFL Party, which filed the petition to remove the name of Gauthier and substitute the party's preferred candidate, Erik Simonson.

"We are glad to learn that the Minnesota Supreme Court agrees that Duluth voters should have a chance to choose between the endorsed candidates of the major parties," DFL state chair Ken Martin said in a statement.

Gauthier, who represented House District 7B in Duluth, admitted to having sexual relations with the boy outside a rest stop but was not charged. After the incident became public and provoked criticism across the political spectrum, Gauthier agreed not to seek re-election. The party endorsed Simonson, an assistant fire chief and leader of the firefighters union in Duluth, to take his place.

County officials said it was too late to remove Gauthier's name from the ballot, a decision that would have required Simonson to run as a write-in candidate. The court's ruling Tuesday replaces Gauthier's name with Simonson's.

Republican Travis Silvers is on the ballot, and Duluth City Councilor Jay Fosle said he will run as a write-in candidate.

The district is one the DFL needs to keep if it hopes to regain the majority in the Minnesota House, and making Simonson run as a write-in candidate would have made that task more difficult. Silvers filed a petition to the court opposing the request to remove Gauthier's name.

Jim Ragsdale • 651-925-5042