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After the state's new redistricting maps dropped in February, Robling said she planned to seek reelection to her Senate seat, which covers much of Scott County. But she says her interest in the job is "waning."

Republican Claire Robling to retire from the Senate

Senate Finance Committee Chair Claire Robling (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Republican Sen. Claire Robling, who currently sits as the powerful chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee, says she will not seek re-election to her southwestern suburban Senate seat this fall.

The five-term senator from Jordan announced the news of her retirement via a press release Friday morning. “I’ve been contemplating this decision for the last year, and with the upcoming endorsing convention, I’ve decided not to move forward with a reelection bid,” she said. Robling did not face a serious challenge in the upcoming election.

After the state’s new redistricting maps dropped in February, Robling said she fully intended run for re-election. But as the year has progressed, Robling’s interest in the job has waned.

“Sixteen years in this position is long enough. I find my enthusiasm for doing this job for another four years is waning. I think it’s time to let someone else step into this spot,” she said, adding that she has been frustrated by an increased sense of partisanship in St. Paul.  “I fear that statesmen are vanishing as partisanship deepens. It is very difficult to pass common sense measures into law these days because special interest groups block or promote agendas that only benefit themselves.”

Robling was elevated to chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee after Republicans took control of the chamber in 2010. Last December, she was one of a handful of senators who confronted former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch about having an inappropriate relationship with staffer Michael Brodkorb. After Koch resigned from her position, Robling and a handful of other senators were elected to the Senate GOP caucus leadership team.

Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said Robling’s retirement will be “a significant loss to the Senate.”  “She is and has been the consummate common-sense legislator,” Senjem said. “She always stood strong for what she believed in.  At the same time she had a special ability to reach out and work with people who thought differently.”

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