On Saturday, the DFL Senate Minority Caucus will meet and discuss whether or not they will hold a vote on their leadership moving now, or wait for the normal vote after the election. The contest is a challenge by current Assistant Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-53, Woodbury) to current Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook). The caucus is gathering this weekend with different events being held at the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters Hall in St Paul and Bakk is a former Carpenter business agent.
We have heard a variety of results from holding off the election until November to Kent having secured the requisite votes with the support of Sen Jason Isaacson (DFL-42, Shoreview). Because this is a family discussion most members are being close-lipped because they don’t want their names associated with any dissension in the caucus.
If Kent has the votes she will push for the vote on Saturday and if not, then it will be left to the normal order of process. Bakk has overseen the caucus first as Minority Leader (2011), then as Majority Leader (2013) and now again as Minority Leader (2017) and his goal is to return to the prior after the “Stub Elections” the two-year Senate Elections before redistricting. Due to population shifts from Greater Minnesota to the seven-county Metropolitan area, we believe there will be significant losses in legislative seats and likely as many as a Senate District and a half on the Iron Range coupled with the potential retirements of either Sens David Tomasssoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) and Erik Simonsen (DFL-07, Duluth) due to their application for a position on the Public Utilities Commission.
It will be an interesting weekend for the DFL no matter what transpires.