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Status Report: Hann’s future, electoral votes, committee assignments

Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, outgoing Senate minority leader, has received some of the credit for the GOP’s takeover of the Senate, despite his own loss in November. Now he is considering a run for state party chair. (File photo: Bill Klotz)

Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, outgoing Senate minority leader, has received some of the credit for the GOP’s takeover of the Senate, despite his own loss in November. Now he is considering a run for state party chair. (File photo: Bill Klotz)

Hann weighs bid: An outgoing Republican state senator is considering running to become the party’s chairman.

Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, told Minnesota Public Radio News on Tuesday that he is weighing a bid to lead the Minnesota Republican Party. Current chairman Keith Downey has said he doesn’t plan to run for a third term, but hasn’t made it official.

Hann, a four-term lawmaker and outgoing Senate minority leader, was defeated in November. But he got some of the credit for the GOP’s takeover of the Senate, despite his own loss.

Hann, who explored a 2010 gubernatorial run, says he has been encouraged to run for the Republican Party’s top spot and will make a final decision sometime in January.

The party’s deputy chairman, Chris Fields, has also expressed interest if Downey departs.

Electors vote: Minnesota’s 10 presidential electors cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton on Monday after a brief moment of drama involving a so-called faithless elector.

Clinton won the state last month and the electors were pledged to support her, but one elector, Muhammad Abdurrahman, cast his ballot for Bernie Sanders.

Abdurrahman’s ballot was immediately tossed out as required by law, and an alternate took his place. The final vote was completed soon after.

Abdurrahman was a Sanders delegate from Minnesota to the Democratic National Convention. He said his vote was a protest of the state’s law that requires electors to follow the statewide vote.

“The law … says that, but the Constitution doesn’t say that,” he said, declining to answer other questions after the vote.

A crowd of anti-Trump protesters urging electors to delay their vote cheered as Abdurrahman’s vote was invalidated.

After pausing for a minute when Abdurrahman handed in his ballot, Secretary of State Steve Simon briefly took Abdurrahman aside, shook his hand and immediately brought up an alternate elector to be sworn in. Simon said his office had prepared for a faithless elector.

Abdurrahman is the state’s first faithless elector since 2004. That’s when an unidentified elector wrote John Edwards’ name on the ballot for president. Edwards was the running mate to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry that year.

The 2004 episode spurred the very state law that Abdurrahman took issue with during Monday’s vote.

Committee assignments: House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, on Tuesday released a complete list of committee assignments for 2017-18.

House leadership named 24 standing committees subcommittees and divisions in late November. That is one more than operated during the 2015-16 biennium. In addition, three House subcommittees were established to focus on affordable child care, care for the elderly and key industries like mining, forestry and tourism.

The full committee membership roster is available online at the House of Representatives’ website.

Committees decide which bills are introduced during the sessions and which are allowed to move through the legislative process.

What’s ahead: All Minnesota Senate and Minnesota House offices will be closed beginning on Friday, Dec. 23, until Monday, Jan. 2. The regular session of the Minnesota Legislature begins on Tuesday, Jan. 3 with both the House and Senate convening at noon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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