Seven candidates -- five Democrats and two Republicans -- are vying to be Minnesota's next state senator.

Gov. Mark Dayton called the election to fill longtime Sen. Ellen Anderson's seat. Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, resigned from the senate to serve as chair of the Public Utilities Commission.

On the Democratic side, list includes Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, former state Rep. Mary Jo McGuire, a Falcon Heights DFLer who served from 1989 to 2002, attorneys Teresa Patton and Steven Marchese and film producer JT Haines, who is a former attorney. If Lesch wins that would mean another special election to fill his House seat.

On the Republican side, Greg Copeland, a former Maplewood city manager who has run for the seat before, and Patricia Ann O'Keefe.

Update: The Republican Party endorsed Copeland and O'Keefe had pledge to abide by the endorsement, GOP Chairman Tony Sutton said on Twitter.

The winning candidate will quickly have to start campaigning again. The entire legislature will be up for election next year, because decennial redistricting requires redrawing of political lines.

The special election's primary will be on March 29. The general election will be April 12.

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