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State Rep. Atkins decides against U.S. Senate run

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Rep. Joe Atkins won’t be running for U.S. Senate next year.

Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, had been mulling whether to join a Democratic field that includes comedian Al Franken and trial lawyer Michael Ciresi. They’re jostling for a spot on the 2008 ballot against Republican Norm Coleman.

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Peter Agre is also considering a run as a Democrat.

In an update to constituents Friday, Atkins said he was grateful to supporters who urged him to get into the race.

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"However, while I deeply appreciate the support and encouragement, my heart lies here in Minnesota," wrote Atkins, a former Inver Grove Heights mayor who is serving his third term an the state House.

DFL House caucus media spokesman Chris Shields said Atkins definitely isn’t running for U.S. Senate.

Atkins didn’t immediately return voice mail messages.

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