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DFLer Champion suspends race for Ellison’s seat

State Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, answers questions June 5 after filing to run for the 5th district congressional seat. Lacey Young | MPR News

Minnesota state Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, said Monday that he’s no longer running for Congress.

Champion was among nine DFL candidates to jump into the 5th District race last Tuesday after incumbent U.S. House Rep. Keith Ellison announced he would run for state attorney general. Three of those DFL candidates, Kim Ellison, Natalie Johnson Lee and Julie Sabo dropped out last week.

In announcing the suspension of his campaign, Champion said he’s concerned that the DFL field is too large and could result in an ugly primary fight.

“I have decided to suspend my active candidacy as a plea to my fellow Democrats to come together and not do damage to the great purpose that our party represents,” Champion said.

Champion’s departure comes too late to remove his name from the ballot.

State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, remains in the DFL race, along with Jamal Abdi Abdulahi, Frank Drake, former Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and state Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis.

The Republican candidates are Bob Carney, Christopher Chamberlin and Jennifer Zielinski.

Champion did not say who he will support.

“I will actively campaign for another DFLer for that seat and double down on my duties as a state senator,” Champion said.