Legislative musical chairs spark Pelican area elections in 2022

A pair of political announcements in quick succession have livened up the Otter Tail County area 2022 political atmosphere—with a state senator retiring and a young, rising star stepping up barely a year into his first legislative term. 

State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen is out. 

State Rep. Jordan Rasmusson is—quite likely–in. 

Republican State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen

Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, announced Jan. 18 that he is running for the Minnesota Senate, aiming to fill the District 8 seat Senator Ingebrigtsen is vacating.

Historically, Senate District 8 has been “safe” Republican territory. But a shift in the ballot could spark a enthusiastic mobilization by area Democrats. 

The news is no doubt prompting behind-the-scenes discussion by political insiders—both Republican and Democrat. 

Publicly, at least, the Democrats are mum.

“No comment at this time, first we need to hear the issues during the precinct caucuses,” responded Mike Windey, Otter Tail Count DFL party chairman. 

Rasmusson’s now-wide-open State House seat, which geographically includes Pelican Rapids and west Otter Tail County, will add a dose of excitement and intrigue to the upcoming Feb. 25 precinct caucuses. Both parties will be scrambling to recruit a State House candidate.

State House Rep. Jordan Rasmusson

“My family has called Otter Tail County home for six generations, and it remains a great honor to represent friends and neighbors in the Legislature,” Rasmusson said. “I have immense appreciation for the support residents of House District 8A have provided me, and I look forward to working on the issues being addressed by our communities as a member of the Senate.”

As for Ingebrigtsen: “After a great deal of consideration, I have decided not to run for re-election in 2022. In my remaining year in the legislature, I look forward to continuing to advocate for the folks of Senate District 8.”

Rasmusson expects to tap into widespread Republican support

Rasmusson has had a strong start to his legislative career, winning his first election in 2020 with nearly two-thirds of the vote and achieving legislative success in the House. Rasmusson helped pass legislation benefitting our local communities including reopening the Fergus Falls driver’s license exam center, providing local job training and facilitating economic development projects across the district.

Rasmusson also helped enact mental health legislation and played a vital role in passing bills to streamline financial services and advance market-driven energy reform.

Rasmusson pledges to work with Democrats

“I have made it a point to work with both Democrats and Republicans with a common-sense conservative approach and desire to hear the full spectrum of opinions on any given issue,” Rasmusson said. “That kind of engagement seems to largely be missing today and is something I will continue to work to restore.”

Before joining the Legislature, Rasmusson worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. and a private equity investor at Bain Capital. He graduated from Fergus Falls High School and Harvard College.

Rasmusson and his wife, Emma, live in Fergus Falls and are active members of Grace Lutheran Church in Erhard.

Alexandria’s Ingebrigtsen has long tenure in St. Paul

Ingebrigtsen has served in the Senate since 2007 and will retire from the Legislature after his current term.

In his 5th term, Ingebrigtsen was first elected to the State Senate in 2006. He served as Chair of the Senate’s Environment and Natural Resource Finance Committee since 2016. 

A long record of public service, he spent 34 years with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, serving as deputy sheriff from 1972 to 1991 and as sheriff from 1991 until 2007. 

 “It has been a great honor to serve in the Minnesota Senate, and I have been thankful for the opportunity to represent the outstanding people of west-central Minnesota. Over my tenure, I have been grateful to work with many wonderful legislators and Minnesotans on the issues most important to our state.”

Rasmusson comments on Ingebrigtsen retirement 

 State Rep. Rasmusson, also issued a statement following Ingebrigten’s announcement. 

“I sincerely thank Sen. Ingebrigtsen for his leadership throughout his Senate tenure and truly appreciate the mentorship and guidance he has provided during our time together in the Legislature,” said Rasmusson. “His expertise on issues related to the environment, and immense background in public safety and law enforcement, have been great assets for our region and the state in general. Sen. Ingebrigtsen has been a strong voice at the Capitol advocating for the best interests of local people and communities.”

“As I begin my next phase, I will continue to advocate for the people of Alexandria, Greater Minnesota, as well as our law enforcement officers and outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen,” concluded Ingebrigtsen. “I want to thank the people of west-central Minnesota again for putting their trust in me for all these years.”

Ingebrigtsen encourages constituents to stay in touch with him this session and for the remainder of his term, which will officially end in January 2023.