ST. PETER - Former Rep. Terry Morrow (DFL - St. Peter) said Wednesday he plans to repay a portion of the House District 19A special election that was spawned by his resignation in December.
Morrow's announcement came after the Minnesota's Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board ruled on Wednesday that he could donate his leftover campaign funds to the affected counties. Morrow said he had planned to assist with the costs of the special election since his resignation, but he had to wait for a ruling from the Board. He is now waiting to hear confirmation from the counties that there are no further legal issues and that they are willing to take the funds.
The total cost of the general election, which will take place Tuesday, and the Jan. 29 primary in Nicollet, Blue Earth and Le Sueur counties is estimated at $70,000. The cost comes from the expense of paying for the same number of election judges in each precinct as there were in the 2012 general election. The staff level is mandated despite the fact that special elections traditionally have much lower turnouts, which was highlighted by the approximately 4 percent voter turnout for the primary.
Morrow said he must decide the amount of his contribution. He was quoted around $25,000 for the combined cost of the 19A general election at the time of his resignation. But, a mixup in the timing of the DFL's endorsement convention resulted in the four candidates filing for the primary. As a result, a primary election will full staffing was held in the three counties.
Clark Johnson won the primary with 66 percent of the vote. Other DFL candidates on the primary ballot were Karl Johnson, Tim Strand and Robin Courrier, all of whom threw their support to Johnson after he won party endorsement.
Morrow said that prior to the primary situation, he had planned to contribute all of the approximately $11,000 still in his campaign account and supplement it with personal funds to pay just over half of $25,000. He said he wants to help with the special elections costs as much as possible, but he will only be able to focus on the general election.
He said he has not yet decided when he will determine the amount of his contribution.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)