State high court denies residency challenge seeking to get senator tossed from ballot

Minnesota’s highest court has denied a petition to remove a state senator — who is running for reelection this fall — from the ballot due to a residency challenge.

A petition filed last month argued that Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) didn’t satisfy the state’s residency requirement for his district, which had its boundaries change this year due to redistricting. State law requires candidates to live in their district for at least six months prior to the general election.

Senate District 12 no longer includes Elbow Lake so, on May 6, Westrom reportedly bought a home in Lake Mary, which is in the newly drawn district.

A Court of Appeals judge heard testimony and looked at submitted evidence last month before determining the petitioners failed to prove Westrom didn’t live in the district since May 8. The petitioners, which included Ashley Klingbeil, the We The People-endorsed candidate for District 12, appealed.

Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court sided with the referee, allowing Westrom to run for the District 12 office.

Westrom has served in the Minnesota Legislature since 1997, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate since 2012.

“I’m glad to finally have this frivolous attempt to disqualify me concluded by the Minnesota Supreme Court,” Westrom said in a statement. “Their decision ends a coordinated effort by the DFL, and independent candidates to try to have me removed from the ballot. I look forward to continuing to run a strong campaign by keeping the focus on the issues important to Western Minnesotans. My efforts continue to be focused on stopping high inflation and lowering costs for families, giving the large state surplus back to taxpayers through permanent ongoing tax relief, improving our rural economy and infrastructure, making sure we have more secure elections, strong schools, and safe communities.”