Kelly Morrison resigns from state Senate to run for vacant 3rd Congressional District seat

Kelly Morrison, a Democratic candidate for Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, announced Thursday she is stepping down from her role as a state senator to focus on her campaign.

Morrison announced her candidacy in November, positioning herself as a primary challenger to incumbent Congressman Dean Phillips, who was running a primary campaign against President Joe Biden. Phillips has since decided not to run for reelection.

As it stands, Morrison is the sole Democrat in the running for Phillips’ seat in the U.S. House. Ron Harris, a former Minneapolis city employee, suspended his congressional campaign in March to throw his support behind Morrison.

Tad Jude and Quentin Wittrock are vying for the Republican nomination.

Because Morrison resigned ahead of the June 8 deadline, the 45th Senate District — which encompasses nearly all of Lake Minnetonka in the west metro — will choose Morrison’s replacement during the Nov. 5 general election.

“This will save taxpayers the cost of a special election and allow voters to more easily participate in choosing a new senator,” Morrison said on X, formerly Twitter.

However – if needed – a special primary election for the nomination of candidates will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13, Walz’s office announced on Friday morning.

In a similar vein, Minnesota DFL leaders have called on Sen. Nicole Mitchell to resign before June 8 to avoid a special election, where low turnout could play in Republicans’ favor and jeopardize the party’s one-seat Senate majority.

Mitchell is charged with first-degree burglary after she was arrested in April on suspicion of breaking into her stepmother’s Detroit Lakes home.