State Rep. Gene Pelowski, the most senior member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, has announced he will not seek reelection to his legislative seat.
“Thank you to the residents of Legislative District 26A for allowing me to participate in a remarkable four decades of public service,” said Rep. Pelowski.
First elected in 1986, Pelowski has represented the Winona area throughout his time in the Minnesota House. Reviewing his 38 years of service in the Minnesota Legislature, Pelowski touted his work on issues such as disaster preparedness, higher education, disability services, government operations, and vocational training in a statement announcing his retirement.
Considered more moderate than the left-wing politicians that dominate Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, Rep. Pelowski was the only Democrat in St. Paul who voted against legislation to legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
In a statement released on Monday, Aaron Repinski, a Winona city councilor and Republican candidate for Rep. Pelowski’s seat in the Minnesota House, announced his campaign has raised over $53,000 in his bid to win District 26A.
According to Repinski, this $53,000 sum is a “record-setting fundraising total” for the Winona seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Sarah Kruger, a Democrat and chief of staff for FairVote MN, is also seeking to replace Pelowski as the state representative for District 26A. FairVote MN is a left-wing advocacy group which seeks to eliminate traditional voting and replace it with ranked-choice voting.
In 2020, Kruger ran for a Winona-area Minnesota state Senate seat. However, Kruger lost to Republican incumbent Sen. Jeremy Miller by roughly 15 points.
Currently, the Democrats have a 70-64 majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives. As such, a change in only four seats could give Republicans a majority in the chamber. All 134 seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives will be up for election on Nov. 5, 2024.
The Minnesota Senate has a Democrat majority of 34-33, but that chamber is not on the ballot in 2024.
With the potential to break up the Democrats’ total control of state government, the 2024 race for a majority in the Minnesota House will be one of the most closely watched political events in the state.
In 2022, Rep. Pelowski won reelection to his seat against a Republican by a margin of 55% to 44.85%.