Dave Senjem named new Senate majority leader
Senjem, 69, has built a reputation as consensus-building Republican who is willing to work with DFLers. He has expressed support for using gambling proceeds to fund a new Vikings stadium, meaning his election to one of the most powerful roles in state politics may be an important boost for Zygi Wilf's efforts when the legislative session begins next month.
Senjem's election was announced following an 11-hour meeting of
Republican Senators in a Roseville hotel room, including a clandestine
appearance by Amy Koch, the scandal-ridden former majority leader.
The Star Tribune reported that "Koch, who has not spoken publicly since stepping down, attended Tuesday's meeting but arrived and left through a side entrance of the Roseville Radisson."
The Koch scandal, combined with the ouster of Michael Brodkorb, her communications chief and alleged illicit lover, and the resignation of Republican Party chairman Tony Sutton amid allegations of mismanagement of party funds, has added up to a tumultuous holiday season for the MNGOP. The election of Senjem, an experienced Rochester politician who served as Senate minority leader from 2007 until early this year, may help stabilize the party heading into next year's impending stadium battles and election cycle.
Because Senjem has a relatively uncontroversial track record, reaction to his election also lacked juiciness.
The Strib opined that Senjem's election "ought to be the beginning of the restoration of the Senate's reputation" following the Koch scandal, while MPR quoted the new majority leader as saying, unsurprisingly, that his priorities will be "jobs and the economy."
One of the more interesting Twitter responses came courtesy of Tom Pelissero, 1500ESPN editor and Vikings reporter.
"The way I hear it, election of Senjem a definite positive for Vikings stadium effort," Pelissero tweeted. "Leadership elections require more than majority... meaning that if ~two-thirds of GOP can come together on this, knowing his stadium/gaming stance, that sure bodes well for state funding."