Denny McNamara is one step closer to the District 54 Senate special election after securing the GOP endorsement Dec. 12.

The Hastings Republican retired last year after 14 years in the House of Representatives, but planned a Senate bid after Sen. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, announced he would resign Dec. 15 following multiple sexual misconduct allegations.

McNamara secured the endorsement over fellow Republican candidates Leilani Holmstadt of Cottage Grove and Bob Anderson of Hastings.

McNamara said he felt very positive after winning the endorsement on the first ballot.

"People I think looked at me as a leader, and somebody that will restore trust back in the Senate seat," he said.

McNamara said if elected he'll continue to work on the state budget and adding "good-paying jobs in our district."

Holmstadt has said she will abide by the endorsement, forgoing a primary. Holmstadt ran against Schoen in 2016. Anderson wrote on Facebook that he will honor the endorsement too.

The GOP endorsement likely sets up a general election contest between McNamara and Karla Bigham, a former DFL House member currently serving as a Washington County commissioner. Bigham served in the Minnesota House from 2007 to 2011, overlapping time with McNamara in the Legislature.

Bigham already received the DFL endorsement and has started campaigning.

McNamara said he will be campaigning and door-knocking, putting extra time into the "A" side of District 54 after serving House District 54B for many years.

"I'm excited over the next 60 days to visit with the voters door to door," he said.

District 54 includes part of Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, Grey Cloud Island Township, Hastings, Nininger Township, Afton, Denmark Township and part of South St. Paul.