The House and Senate have gone in opposite ideological directions with their leadership picks as they prepare to become the minority in the 2013 legislative session. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s election that swept DFLers into control of both the House and Senate, Republicans have spent the last two days behind closed doors to choose leaders who will try to steer their respective caucuses in picking up the pieces and articulating the opposition to the DFL legislative majorities and Gov. Mark Dayton.
The House on Saturday afternoon chose Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, as minority leader. Heading into his second term, Daudt, who managed former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert’s unsuccessful bid for the 2010 GOP gubernatorial endorsement, is comparatively moderate compared to the hard right portion of the Caucus.
The Senate GOP Caucus on Friday night picked a leadership team exclusively from the ranks of its right wing.
Senate Republicans chose Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie, as minority leader. Assistants are Sens. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake, Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes, Warren Limmer of Maple Grove and David Thompson of Lakeville.
This will be Hann’s first time as caucus leader, although he has been an assistant leader in past instances when the Republicans were in the majority and the minority. Having previously been an assistant minority leader, Hann became assistant majority leader after Republicans won control of the Senate in 2010. However he resigned his leadership post a couple days after Christmas 2011 in the aftermath of the scandal in which Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned due to her affair with caucus Communications Director Michael Brodkorb. In the majority Hann has been the chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee and a persistent opponent of the Dayton administration’s efforts to create an health insurance exchange system.
Hann on Tuesday won a squeaker of an election against DFL challenger Laurie McKendry by less than 3 percentage points. The tight race forced him to focus on his re-election rather than campaigning for fellow incumbents.
Daudt won a second term by 21 percentage points and was a fixture of the House GOP’s campaign efforts throughout the summer and fall.
After the 2010 election, Daudt was elected assistant majority leader by his fellow freshman class members. House Public Information Services’ Session Daily publication reported Daudt’s election as minority leader wasn’t secured on the first ballot.