BEMIDJI -- Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht earned the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party's endorsement for Senate District 5 after a nine day voting period.

On Thursday, DFL leadership announced that DFL delegates had endorsed Albrecht as the candidate for the Minnesota Senate in a district that includes four counties and spans from Bemidji to Grand Rapids. The balloting process was open between April 25 and May 4 by mail and digitally.

"Rita has served the people of Bemidji well, and I'm excited to see her serve us in St. Paul," said Senate District 5 DFL Chair Cyndy Martin of Grand Rapids in a release.

First elected as mayor in 2012, Albrecht is a BSU graduate with degrees in geography and education. Last year she retired as regional director for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"I'm honored and humbled to receive the DFL endorsement," Albrecht said. "I appreciate the delegates' support and am looking forward to moving on to the general election."

On her website, Albrecht also said, "now more than ever, we need good government. Working together, we need to make sure our Greater Minnesota voices are heard in St. Paul. We need leaders who understand our strengths and challenges in northern Minnesota."

In the endorsing process, Albrecht finished ahead of attorney Charles Dolson. Dolson is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who entered the race with law enforcement and tribal government experience, having been the executive director for the Red Lake Nation.

"I'm disappointed, but I think I could have worked a little harder, and thus don't have anyone to blame but myself," Dolson said in a statement to the Pioneer. "I look forward to helping the endorsed candidates through this summer and into November."

In the release, DFL officials thanked Dolson for his campaign and stated, "It's clear Charles has a future in the party, and all of us in Senate district leadership look forward to working with him to improve lives for all Minnesotans."

Albrecht will face District 5 Sen. Justin Eichorn in the 2020 November election. Eichorn was elected to the seat in 2016.

On Thursday, the DFL also announced that District 5A Rep. John Persell was also endorsed. First elected to the House in 2008, Persell is seeking a sixth term in the chamber.

"John has served the people of District 5A for several years, he continues to fight every day for the betterment of people's lives here in District 5," Martin said.