State Rep. Mark Olson, an eight-term House member defeated for Republican Party endorsement for reelection after a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction last year, has gained GOP support for a state Senate run.

Olson, who was shunned by the House GOP caucus after his conviction, captured the District 16 party endorsement Thursday for a special election to replace state Sen. Betsy Wergin, R-Princeton. Wergin has been appointed to the state Public Utilities Commission.

Olson, of Big Lake, decided against running for his House seat hours before the deadline in July. He could not reached for comment on Friday.

Former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer won the Republican endorsement in May for the House seat from District 16B, which includes Elk River and other parts of Sherburne County.

On Thursday, Olson gained the endorsement for the District 16 Senate seat on the second ballot against Big Lake Republican activist Alison Krueger. Her name will remain on the ballot for the Sept. 9 primary.

"We are a party of local control, and the Senate District 16 Republicans have endorsed Mark Olson, and we respect that decision," said Minnesota Republican Party communications director Gina Countryman.

DFLer Lisa Fobbe also has filed to run in the special election, which will be held on the same date as the general election, Nov. 4.

Mark Brunswick