Two long-time state senators from the Iron Range — Tom Bakk and Dave Tomassoni — are leaving the Senate Democratic Caucus and forming a new “Independent Caucus,” increasing what was Republican’s razor-thin majority in the Minnesota Senate. Bakk says he’s “very disappointed by the extreme partisanship” and “both political parties are to blame.” It appears that both Tomassoni and Bakk will chair committees in the Minnesota Senate — a significant move by Republicans to include the new “Independent Caucus.”
Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says about the move by Tomassoni and Bakk: “I welcome their announcement and the stronger alignment we will have as a result. We share the same vision of a prosperous Iron Range and will continue to work with them to fight for jobs on the Range.”
Bakk led Senate Democrats, either in the minority or majority, since 2011 until he was ousted in February by Woodbury Senator Susan Kent. Last week Republicans installed Tomassoni as Senate president — a move to ward off a potential loss of their majority due to political “musical chairs” if President-elect Biden taps Senator Amy Klobuchar for a cabinet post.