Redistricting pairing pushes DFL Senate leader out of office 

Newly-drawn legislative maps released last week placed López Franzen in the same district as the veteran Latz.

Left: Sen. Melisa López Franzen. Right: Sen. Ron Latz (Minnesota Senate)

Senate Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen announced this week that she won’t be seeking reelection after redistricting placed her in the same district as fellow Democrat Ron Latz.

“After careful consideration of the changes brought on by redistricting, I’ve decided I will not be seeking reelection to the Minnesota Senate,” López Franzen said in a statement Thursday. “As I step away from elected office into the next chapter of my career, I can assure you that I will continue to dedicate my work to the prosperity of our state and the issues that matter most to Minnesotans.”

López Franzen was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2012 and was picked by her colleagues to lead the DFL caucus last October, making her the first woman of color to hold that role. But newly-drawn legislative maps released last week placed López Franzen in the same district as the veteran Latz, who said Friday that he will be running for a sixth term.

Her planned departure reportedly caused frustration among some Democratic operatives, who believe that Latz should have stepped aside for “an ascendant woman of color.”

Latz said he was “saddened” by López Franzen’s announcement in a Wednesday statement.

“We were unfortunately redistricted together, an event neither of us were prepared for and one that we discussed at great length together,” he said. “Senator López Franzen has served her community well and has been an exemplary caucus leader during an especially challenging time in our state. I greatly respect her and her decision, and I will sincerely miss her leadership in the Minnesota Senate.”