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Ex-Rep. Abeler launching Minnesota Senate bid

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Jim Abeler answers a question during a forum with Republican candidates campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

Former state Rep. Jim Abeler said Wednesday that he is running for the Minnesota Senate next year.

Abeler, a Republican from Anoka, is seeking the District 35 seat currently held by Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover. Petersen is not seeking re-election in 2016.

The district includes Anoka, Ramsey and parts of Andover and Coon Rapids.

Abeler said in a news release that he will host a kickoff party for his campaign in Anoka on Oct. 6.

“As a lifelong resident of the area, I look forward to serving the 80,000 people who call our area home,” Abeler said. “I believe they will benefit from my experience and seniority in the Legislature and my successful work in the private sector.”

Abeler served eight terms in the Minnesota House. He was the ranking Republican on the Health and Human Services Finance committee, and previously chaired the committee.

Abeler ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014 and did not seek re-election to the Legislature.

Republican Andy Aplikowski of Andover is also running for the District 35 Senate seat.