Sen. Petersen will resign from his seat early, triggering a special election


There will be a special election for some Twin Cities residents after lawmaker Branden Petersen revealed he will be resigning from the state Senate.

Sen. Petersen, a Republican from Andover, had already announced in July that he would not be seeking re-election for his seat, telling MinnPost the long hours and modest wages made it difficult to find a well-paying flexible job that would allow him to also continue his political career.

And the Pioneer Press reports Petersen – the Minnesota Senate's youngest senator (at 29) – has decided to resign early, leaving the Legislature at the end of October and triggering a special election for his seat.

He told the newspaper that since announcing his plans not to run again, he has "felt and experienced some stagnation both personally and professionally," which he didn't think was fair on his constituents.

Petersen won the 2012 election and took office in 2013. State senators are elected to a four-year term.

"Branden Peterson brought a unique and valuable perspective to the Republican Caucus and to the entire Senate," Senate Minority Leader David Hann said in a statement. "His approach to the issues was always based on principle, not the prevailing political winds of the day."

His tenure reached a particularly notable point in when he became the only GOP senator in Minnesota to co-sponsor and vote for the same-sex marriage bill – a decision which he was criticized for, MPR News reported. It led to a vote of 'no confidence' from some GOP peers, which was later rescinded, the Star Tribune reported.

In spite of this, MinnPost notes he is a popular lawmaker on both sides of the Senate, with the website describing him as a "Republican with a Libertarian bent" who also fought for a strict medical marijuana program and "tighter data privacy protections."

The Star Tribune reports that former state Rep. Jim Abeler, and GOP activisits Andy Aplikowski and Donald Huizenga have already filed to run for Petersen's soon-to-be-vacant seat.

Petersen had served one two-year term in the Minnesota House before becoming senator.

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