ST. PETER Former State Rep. Allen Quist, who lost in his bid for Minnesota's First Congressional District last November, is seriously considering running for a vacancy in House District 19A left by the sudden resignation of Rep. Terry Morrow on Wednesday.
Morrow announced he was leaving to take a job as Legislative Director for the Chicago-based Uniform Law Commission, which advocates for uniformity in laws across states and in other countries. He said it was an extremely tough decision, but he felt better able to make it after achieving some success on the four-lane expansion push for Highway 14 and being given the chance to work heavily on the Vikings stadium plan.
"It took the perfect job offer to make the painful decision to move away [from home and Gustavus]," said Morrow, "I think there's a smart, smart [DFL majority] leading the Minnesota Legislature this year, it's bittersweet I won't be a part of it."
Morrow departure is so sudden that both the DFL and Republican state political parties have not yet been able to select candidates for vacant seat. Quist said he has not yet contacted Republican leadership about his intentions to run because of how recent Morrow's announcement has been.
A special election will have be held within 40 days of Jan. 7 , the official start of the 2013 legislative session and Morrow official resignation date.
Quist argued that he would have a very strong ability to run for the seat. He said he could bring to bear the infrastructure and supporters from his congressional campaign that ended a month ago.
Quist also touted his ability to be effective if elected, citing his three terms in the Minnesota Legislature during the 1980s.
"I have a wealth of experience in government. I can hit the ground running. I don't need one or two terms to find my way," said Quist.
He said he was not intimidated by the concept of working under DFL governor Mark Dayton and the DFL controlled Legislature. He said he had done so already during his time a legislator and still been able to effectively get bills passed.
Besides his previous time in the Legislature, Quist ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1994 and 1998. More recently, he ran for the First District in 2010 but did not get pass the primary. This year, he was the official Republican candidate against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, but he lost in the November general election.
Recent election results show the Morrow's district voted 52 percent for President Obama and 44 percent for Mitt Romney in the election.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org