State Sen. Kelly Morrison announces bid for Dean Phillips’ seat

Phillips said he welcomes the competition.

Sen. Kelly Morrison shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson in the Minnesota Senate chambers. (Photo by Minnesota Senate Media)

Minnesota Sen. Kelly Morrison, a practicing OB-GYN and Democrat from Deephaven, announced Thursday that she will run for the congressional seat currently held by Congressman Dean Phillips.

Phillips launched a campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination late last month, angering many Democrats in his home state who believe Phillips’ “political side show” will do nothing more than weaken President Joe Biden.

Phillips has said he will drop out of the race by March 5 if his presidential campaign isn’t viable. He could then still run for a fourth term in Congress, which would set up (as of now) a three-way primary between himself, Morrison, and DNC Executive Committee member Ron Harris.

Morrison, who served two terms in the Minnesota House before her election to the state Senate in 2022, filed her paperwork Thursday to run for Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.

“I’m thrilled [Kelly Morrison] is entering the MN-03 primary because healthy democracies promote competition, don’t limit it, and voters appoint their Representatives, not a person or political party. Same should be true for Presidents,” Phillips said.

Morrison pointed to her record of “lowering the cost of prescription drugs and protecting abortion rights” in her campaign announcement. She was one of the lead authors of the Protect Reproductive Options Act last session, which many consider to be one of the most extreme abortion laws in the country. The bill grants Minnesotans a “fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, via any method and for any reason, with no age restrictions. Gov. Tim Walz signed it into law before the end of January.

With a one-seat majority in the Senate, Morrison was a reliable “yes” vote on every major piece of legislation passed by the DFL “trifecta” this year.

Phillips endorsed Morrison’s Senate bid in 2022, describing her as a lifelong friend.

Morrison is married to Target executive John Willoughby, who donated $1,000 to Phillips in 2018. Her campaign for Congress was endorsed by former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and former Planned Parenthood North Central States CEO Sarah Stoesz.


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.