Amid a tightening race for Democratic Party chairman that now includes Labor Secretary Tom Perez and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, two state legislators firmed up their plans in case Ellison wins the post and resigns his Minneapolis-area congressional seat.
State Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said Thursday that after further consideration, he would no longer run for the Fifth District seat.
"After spending a few days with my husband and closely considering our goals, and my goals, I decided that taking this step at this time doesn't support those goals," he said in a phone interview.
Dibble emerged as the first potential candidate and appeared to be a likely front-runner for the seat. But just as quickly as he announced, other DFLers also announced their interest in the seat, including fellow state Sens. Patricia Torres Ray and Jeff Hayden -- both of Minneapolis.
State Rep. Peggy Flanagan, DFL-St. Louis Park, on Thursday said had finalized her plans in case Ellison stepped down, saying she would definitely run. She previously said she was considering a run. "It's important to start getting organized and have a conversation with folks for this to happen," Flanagan said.
On Ellison's prospects, Flanagan said "Keith is doing what Keith does best, which is organizing. He is running a strong campaign and I think Secretary Perez is a worthy opponent, but I think Keith is working hard. He's certainly who I'd like to see lead our party."
Flanagan, a progressive activist, has already earned the backing of one prominent DFLer, former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. In a tweet last week, he wrote: "Wow! It would be great to have one of the best young leaders in the country be my rep in Congress."
Other potential contenders include Minneapolis Council Member Alondra Cano and former GOP congressional candidate, Frank Drake.