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Minnesota State Sen. Nicole Mitchell's vote helps defeat call for her own resignation

Embattled Minnesota State Sen. Nicole Mitchell returns to Capitol
Embattled Minnesota State Sen. Nicole Mitchell returns to Capitol 02:18

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A motion in the Minnesota Senate to call for the resignation of bemired DFL Sen. Nicole Mitchell failed Tuesday, and Mitchell herself was among those voting it down after a GOP-led effort to strip her of voting powers failed.

Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, brought forth the motion, which called for "a formal request for the resignation" of Mitchell. The vote failed along party lines in the DFL-controlled Senate, according to a Republican spokesperson.

Mitchell, a Democrat who represents the east metro, was charged with burglary last week. After being found in the basement of her stepmother's home, dressed in all black, Mitchell told police she broke in to retrieve her father's ashes and other sentimental items, according to a criminal complaint.

In a subsequent statement, Mitchell denied the allegations and said she was at the home to check on a family member with Alzheimer's.

"It saddens me that some people are attempting to use a tragic family situation to score political points, and I am grateful to those who believe, as I always have, that everyone should be allowed the due process guaranteed by our Constitution," Mitchell said, in part. "I am confident that a much different picture will emerge when all of the facts are known."

Mitchell returned to the State Capitol on Monday, casting a deciding vote in her own defense. Tuesday's vote on Housley's motion was along straight party lines.

David Hann, chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, chided the Minnesota Senate DFL in a statement Tuesday for her participation in the vote.

"This audacious move by the Minnesota Senate DFL demonstrates a disturbing commitment to retaining power at any cost, blatantly ignoring the fundamental principles of transparency and accountability expected by Minnesota citizens," Hann said.

Senate Republicans filed an ethics complaint against Mitchell last week, and some were already calling for her resignation before Tuesday's vote. The Ethics Subcommittee is set to discuss the complaint May 7.

Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy announced Mitchell would be relieved of her committee assignments and removed from caucus meetings until both the criminal and Senate investigations into the charges are complete. 

Mitchell, a former TV meteorologist and a commander with the Air National Guard, was elected in 2022 and is in her first term.

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