Governor Mark Dayton meets privately today (about noon) with Paynesville Republican and lieutenant-governor-to-be Michelle Fischbach, even as a legal battle brews over whether Fischbach can remain in the Senate while she’s lieutenant governor. Republicans are worried about losing their majority in the state Senate, if they don’t win an anticipated special election in Fischbach’s district. “A million dollars can be spent easily on one of those races and, if you have the right candidate, doesn’t matter the party. They can win,” says Senate Republican Leader Paul Gazelka. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Bakk warns when Fischbach becomes lieutenant governor, if she tries to remain in the Minnesota Senate there will be a court challenge. “I certainly would support that and likely initiate that, if it didn’t come from the DFL Party or somebody else,” Bakk says.
Gazelka says there’s legal precedent for someone being lieutenant governor and state Senate president at the same time: “In Minnesota’s history, we’ve had two men that were able to do both. They were both the lieutenant governor and the president of the Senate at the same time. I don’t see any reason why Michelle Fischbach can’t do the same thing.” Democrats contend other provisions in the Minnesota Constitution prohibit a person from holding two political offices at the same time.
Here’s the full interview with Gazelka: