U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's offer to step down from his congressional seat if he's selected as the next chair of the national Democratic Party has already produced its first potential candidate to replace Ellison: state Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis.

Dibble confirmed Monday he would run if Ellison were elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, saying he would only do so if Ellison stepped down.

"If Keith decides to step away from Congress, I am prepared to and will run to fill his seat," Dibble said. "I am prepared to and will build on his outstanding work as a movement builder and generator of progressive ideas to improve people's lives. Until that times comes, I will continue to support Keith as my Congressman."

Ellison is vying for chair of the Democratic Party whose leadership is reeling from major electoral defeats last month. He is campaigning hard to convince enough voting members of the DNC to pick him as their next national leader. It's a time-consuming job as it means the public face for Democrats and leading fund-raising and strategy efforts for national elections.

Dibble praised Ellison's qualifications for the job, saying the national party "needs a new direction, with an emphasis on grassroots voter mobilization and expanding opportunities for everyone."

Just elected to a fifth term, Dibble is currently Senate Transportation Committee Chair, although he will join his DFL colleagues in the minority once the new Legislature starts next month. He also served one term in the Minnesota House.

He was legislative sponsor of several high profile bills that became law in recent years, including allowing same-sex marriage in Minnesota, an anti-bullying bill and the state's medical marijuana program.

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