The DFL House Caucus will meet today and select a new Majority Leader. The names of the candidates we are hearing it will be a contest between Reps Jamie Long (DFL-61B, Minneapolis) and Kaohly Vang Her (DFL-64A, St Paul), are in their second terms, both elected in 2019. We are somewhat surprised a more seasoned legislator is not stepping up to this challenge. The 2018 selection of Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler effectively broke an informal tradition of the Speaker coming from the either the Metro or Greater Minnesota and the Majority Leader being the opposite, with both being from northern suburban districts. With Hortman remaining in place we’ll see what dynamic is in play this go-round.
The Republicans will not meet until next week. Current Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) has not announced his intentions on reelection. We understand Deputy Minority Leader Rep Anne Neu Brindley (R-32B, North Branch) is expressing interest, along with current Assistant Minority Leaders Reps Dave Baker (R-17B, Willmar), Jim Nash (R-47A, Waconia), Peggy Scott (R-35B, Andover) other names being floated are Reps Pat Garofalo (R-58B, Farmington), and Jeff Backer (R-12A, Browns Valley).
The DFL Senate Caucus meets today at noon. The candidates for Majority Leader include Sen Erin Murphy (DFL-64, St Paul), Sen Nick Frentz (DFL-19, North Mankato) and Sen Kari Dziedzic (DFL-60, Minneapolis) it looks like Sen Mary Kunesh (DFL-41, New Brighton) is no longer in contention. We understand Sens Ann Rest (DFL-45, New Hope) and Bobby Jo Champion (DFL-59, Minneapolis) are vying for the President of the Senate.
When Senate Majority Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen (DFL) announced her retirement we published a speculative article and suggested they DFL Caucus should select a leader through the campaign. In this piece, we advanced Dziedzic’s name and as the fundraising chair she produced well this election. https://checksandbalances.com/in-the-aftermath-of-lopez-franzen/
Checks & Balances has had impact in the results of past Senate Leadership contests, we will see what transpires this time. As we look at the political landscape, continue to highlight the importance of the suburbs as a third political element, we believe any leadership decision warrants consideration.
To this end, we recognize the three leadership positions in the Senate. Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, and President. In this case, coalitions can be made. A Suburban, Rural, Urban ticket or any variation thereof i.e., Urban, Suburban, Rural, but we think a woman leader is paramount.
On the Republican side, Sen Jeremy Miller (R-28, Winona) has communicated to his caucus he will not seek the position as Minority Leader. Leading candidate to replace him current is Deputy Majority Leader Sen Mark Johnson (R-01, East Grand Forks), who lost to Miller last year. Other names being bantered about are Assistant Majority Leaders Zack Duckworth (R-58, Lakeville) and John Jasinski (R-24, Faribault) and Sens Eric Pratt (R-55, Prior Lake).