The race to replace retiring state Rep. Terry Morrow is heating up.

DFLer Robin Courrier, a teacher and union activist from North Mankato, announced Wednesday that she will be running in the upcoming special election for House District 19A.

"Announcing that I will seek DFL endorsement for District 19A seat. Would appreciate your support," Courrier said, announcing her campaign on Twitter.

Courrier is the lead teacher at Bridges Community School, serves as president of the Mankato Teachers Association and is on the board of the statewide teachers union, Education Minnesota.

Morrow, DFL-St. Peter, announced this month that he would be resigning the seat to take a job in Chicago. He had won an uncontested fourth term just weeks before, capturing 97 percent of the vote in the DFL-leaning district.

The date for the special election has not been set, but Republican and Independence Party candidates also are eyeing the 19A seat.

"I am considering it," said Republican Allen Quist, fresh from an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz. "I'm always looking for a new challenge."

Quist, who served in the Legislature from 1983 to 1988, said he is still debating a run, but plans to make an announcement soon.

"I tend to be a calm, rational thinker and problem solver," said Courrier, who was a shocked by Morrow's resignation announcement as the rest of his constituents. "I'm going for the endorsement."

A longtime activist on education issues, Morrow has never run for public office before. She's doing so now, she said, because "we want to continue what (Morrow) started."

She decided to announce her bid the day after Christmas, she said, to give herself as much time as possible to campaign.

“Minnesota has a proud legacy of commitment to education, health care and job creation that has contributed to a healthy population. As we look toward economic recovery, it is critical that we renew our commitment to our citizens," she said in a statement.

"As a mom, a wife, an advocate for great education and a strong supporter for human rights, I care deeply about ensuring that we have a strong education system for our kids, as well as quality health care for all. I will work tirelessly on behalf of my community to be a voice at the Capitol on issues that are so important to us at every stage of life."

Meanwhile, Independence Party officials told the St. Peter Herald that several Independence candidates might consider a run for Morrow's seat.

When that might happen will depend on when Morrow resigns. A spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Dayton said the governor will not call a special election until Morrow officially steps down.

Morrow announced on Dec. 19 that he will not return to the Minnesota House when the 2013 session opens on Jan. 8. He has accepted the job as legislative director for the Uniform Law Commission in Chicago.

Jennifer Brooks • 651-925-5049