ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

Democrats are moving ahead with a write-in campaign in a Duluth legislative race after absentee voting began Friday without the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling on whether the disgraced incumbent can be replaced on the ballot.

DFL Chairman Ken Martin said Friday that the party is now focusing on assistant Duluth fire chief Erik Simonson's write-in bid.

The party and Simonson sued last week to substitute Simonson for Democratic Rep. Kerry Gauthier on the ballot. Gauthier dropped his re-election campaign last month after having a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy.

The flap in a reliably Democratic district has complicated Democrats' effort to retake the House majority.

Republican Travis Silvers is on the ballot, while Duluth City Councilor Jay Fosle is running a write-in campaign without party affiliation.