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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 23, 2012, 03:18 PM

Dems regroup after lawmaker in scandal drops out

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Duluth Democrats began focusing Thursday on candidates who could replace a Minnesota state lawmaker involved in a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop.

By: MARTIGA LOHN,Associated Press, Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Duluth Democrats began focusing Thursday on candidates who could replace a Minnesota state lawmaker involved in a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop.

The shift came a day after Rep. Kerry Gauthier said he would drop his re-election bid in Duluth after heavy pressure from Democratic leaders.

The scandal has complicated Democrats' effort to win a majority in the House by putting a reliably Democratic district into turmoil.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party spokeswoman Kate Monson says the party is exploring legal options for replacing Gauthier on the ballot, but Sen. Roger Reinert of Duluth says he assumes the party's candidate will have to run a write-in campaign.

Local DFL Chairman John Schwetman says the party plans an endorsing convention in the next two weeks.

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