A longtime northwestern Minnesota senator will not seek re-election this fall.
After serving 36 years in the state legislature, LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, announced Wednesday he won't run again so he can spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.
"It has been a great honor to advocate in the Minnesota Senate for the people of Northwestern Minnesota and I am most thankful for the opportunity," the 71 year old said.
Stumpf, who represents District 1 in the northwest corner of the state, served two years in the House of Representatives before joining the Senate in 1982.
He currently chairs the Senate Capital Investment Committee, having previously served on the Senate Education Policy and Finance Committee, and the Higher Education Finance Committee. In his statement, Stumpf cited educational initiatives and flood responses as accomplishments during his tenure.
"As I reflect on my experiences, I appreciate the good fortune to work with all legislators, regardless of their party affiliation, to shape legislative changes that made Minnesota a better state," Stumpf said.
As for the upcoming legislative session, which convenes March 8, Stump says he is looking "forward to rolling up my sleeves ... to advance a strong bonding bill to help communities with their infrastructure needs and job creation."
The Star Tribune notes he faces a "potentially contentious debate" over the bonding bill's approval.
Another DLF seat up for grabs
Stumpf is the seventh DFL senator to announce they won't be seeking re-election, which could make for a tight race come November.
The Associated Press calls Stumpf's retirement "a blow to Senate Democrats" who are looking to protect their majority in the Senate chamber, noting the rural district is "more favorable" to Republicans.
MPR News says this will "vault the seat into the upper echelon of competitive 2016 Senate races," noting Republicans need to gain six or more seats to win the Senate majority.
The news station says the race for control of the House, which is currently controlled by the GOP, is also expected to be close.