Yesterday’s selection of Sen David Tomassoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) as the Senate President, the first time a minority member has held the position since partisan elections began in 1972, could have been done for all the right reasons, like reducing the partisanship in the Senate. Additionally, the selection should have been intended to continue into the 2021 session, but instead, it was done for purely partisan political reasons until the end of this year during the forthcoming Special Sessions.
The roll call of the vote showed 63-4 with Senators Jim Carlson (DFL-51, Eagan, Chris Eaton (DFL-40, Brooklyn Center, Jeff Howe (R-13, Rockville) and Ron Latz (DFL-44, St Louis Park) voting in opposition.
Call it Domino Theory, Conspiracy Theory or a hat tip to the House of Cards, but the choice of “Guido” for the position is cynical in two ways. First, Republicans are taking a defensive posture to prevent a loss of a seat in their majority in 2021 should US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) be tapped by President-elect Joe Biden (D) to join his administration. speculation being as Attorney General or Agricultural Secretary. As an additional consideration, it means they Senate GOP is not too confident outgoing Senate President Jeremy Miller (R-28, Winona) can hold the seat in a Special Election after he just was reelected with a 57.66% majority, but also means they think an open seat on the Iron Range is riper for the picking, Tomassoni carried his seat with 57.04%. Second, it assumes Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) would in turn appoint Lt Governor Peggy Flanagan (DFL-MN) to the position. This would set off the same chain of events as the selection of Lt Governor Tina Smith (DFL-MN) by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) to fill the US Senate seat after US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) needlessly resigned.
These series of assumptions preclude Biden’s decision, Klobuchar’s decision, and Walz’ decision. Not to mention the possibility Biden might consider a selection of Flanagan for a position in her own right, or choice comes to Walz why whether or not he would pick Flanagan, or why not Franken or someone else?
With the GOP Senate Majority returning to a 34-33 vote this means Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) will be tasked with wrangling all of the votes in his caucus.