State Rep. Tony Jurgens, a Republican, endorsed a Democrat in a crucial race that helped the Minnesota DFL reclaim the majority in the Senate for the first time in six years.
With Democrats already controlling the governor’s mansion and the House before the election, the Senate was the last line of defense for state Republicans. Come January, Democrats will control that chamber (and the whole of state government) with a narrow 34-33 majority.
A key race that helped flip the Senate was in District 41, covering the Cottage Grove and Hastings areas. Democrat Judy Seeberger pulled off an upset victory over Republican Tom Dippel, winning by just 321 votes.
Jurgens, who has represented the area in the House since 2016, endorsed Seeberger over Dippel just days before the election.
“I won’t agree with Judy on all political issues, but the job is much more than partisan politics,” Jurgens said in his endorsement before taking shots at “extreme right-wing organizations.”
Importantly, Jurgens lost to Dippel in the Republican primary for this seat by more than 20 points. He also lost the party’s endorsement to Dippel but still went to the primary.
According to Hastings Progressives, a group backing Dippel’s opponent, Jurgens also placed a Seeberger campaign sign in his yard.
Seeberger ran on “protecting, defending, and enshrining” abortion access in Minnesota. With a new Senate majority, Democrats said they plan to codify abortion in state law.
Jurgens decided to leave his House seat to run for Senate, and thus will no longer hold office by next year.