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Minnesota governor calls special election after State Sen. Kelly Morrison resigns amid congressional run

Minnesota State Sen. Kelly Morrison resigns ahead of congressional run
Minnesota State Sen. Kelly Morrison resigns ahead of congressional run 00:21

MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz on Friday officially called a special election for a state Senate seat vacated by Sen. Kelly Morrison, who stepped down to focus on her congressional campaign.

The outcome of the battle to replace her in the Legislature could determine who controls that chamber, where Democrats have a narrow majority.

Morrison announced her resignation on social media Thursday evening. She's running to replace U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a fellow Democrat, to represent the Third Congressional District covering the northern and western Twin Cities suburbs. 

Phillips announced he wouldn't seek re-election for Congress amid his long-shot bid to beat President Joe Biden for the Democratic nominee for president.

Because she stepped down before a key deadline at the end of this week, the special election to fill her seat will fall on the same day as the General Election on Nov. 5.

"This will save taxpayers the cost of a special election and allow voters to more easily participate in choosing a new senator," Morrison said. "It has been an honor to serve the people of SD45."

Her state Senate district covers Minnetonka, Orono, Excelsior and other communities around Lake Minnetonka.  

Kelly Morrison WCCO

Morrison, an obstetrician-gynecologist from Deephaven, had served two terms in the Minnesota House before being elected to the state Senate in 2022. She secured the DFL endorsement and no longer faces a primary challenger after Ron Harris bowed out and threw his support behind Morrison.

Her exit from the Legislature leaves the state Senate at a tied 33-33 split between Republicans and Democrats, though lawmakers ended the session late last month.

The special election outcome could determine who controls the chamber — if Democrats hold on to their one-seat majority or if Republicans successfully end the DFL trifecta of state government.

No other seats in the Senate are up for re-election because they serve four-year terms; meanwhile, every seat in the Minnesota House is on the ballot as Republicans eye flipping party control in that chamber, where the DFL has held the gavel since 2019.

Morrison won her state Senate seat easily in 2022 by more than 12 points. However, the suburbs she represents are traditional battleground areas that have significant influence in shaping the outcome of elections.

This is a developing story. Stay with for more.

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