A hurricane blew through the Minnesota State Capitol on election night! The Democrats swept both chambers in the Legislature and now have control of the State House, Senate and the Governor’s office.
The House DFL Caucus met this week and elected Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) as their Speaker-designate. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) will serve as Majority Leader. The House has 42 newly elected members; 27 DFL and 15 GOP.
The Senate DFL Caucus also met and elected Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) as Majority Leader-designate, Katie Sieben (DFL-Newport) as Assistant Majority Leader-designate, and Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) as President-designate of the Senate. The DFL Caucus also elected Dick Cohen (DFL-St. Paul) as Finance Committee Chair and Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook) as Tax Committee Chair. The Senate has 23 new members; 14 DFL and 9 GOP.
The House Republicans will meet today to caucus and elect a leader. Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) stated he will not run for the leadership post. Likely candidates for the Minority Leader position are Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa), Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska), Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) and Kurt Daudt (R-Crown). Others may be considering a run for leadership as well.
The Senate GOP Caucus is scheduled to meet over the weekend. The likely Minority Leader candidates are David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) and Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen). Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester) has said he will not run for the leadership slot.
Once the Majority Caucuses are organized, they will begin working on committee structure and membership. Incoming Majority Leader-designate Tom Bakk has indicated the Senate DFL will make some modifications to the committee structure. All four caucuses will begin work on their session priorities and moving offices. Sixty-five freshmen will begin wandering the halls and learning the legislative process. There will be significant staff changes as the DFL Majority will need more staff and the GOP will need less. Session begins January 8, 2013.