State Sen. John Harrington, DFL- St. Paul, says he has decided to not seek re-election this fall.
Harrington will step aside after just two years at the Minnesota Legislature. The former St. Paul police chief was elected in 2010, replacing retiring Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St. Paul. But the DFL lost its Senate majority for the first time in nearly four decades. Harrington says the just completed session was particularly frustrating as a member of the minority party, and he began questioning his passion for the office.
“Four more years of gridlock, of an incredibly short-sighted agenda wasn’t something that I could get up in the morning and look forward to going down there and battling those dragons,” Harrington said.
The announcement is expected to trigger more interest in the East side seat, which already had another DFL candidate planning to challenge the incumbent in a primary. Harrington did not win the DFL endorsement in March, but he insists that was not a factor in his decision.
“That’s how I got here. I got in here with not being endorsed and having run in a large primary. So no, that wasn’t really a factor at all. This is really about service and about where do you want to plant your flag and where do you want to be. That’s what the decision came down to.”
Harrington said he plans campaign this fall in opposition to the marriage and voter ID constitutional amendments that are on the statewide ballot.
Harrington’s announcement means there are 15 members of the Minnesota Senate that have decided to not run for re-election. Here’s the list.
Democrats not running for re-election
Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon
Sen. Mary Jo McGuire, DFL-Falcon Heights
Sen. Ken Kelash, DFL-Minneapolis
Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis
Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul
Republicans not running for re-election
Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas
Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton
Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca (Running for Congress)
Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo
Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley
Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel
Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina
Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan
Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista
Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Madison Lake
There are 27 members of the Minnesota House who aren’t running for re-election.