AUDIO: Pederson, GOP senators set to pick new Majority Leader

AUDIO: Pederson, GOP senators set to pick new Majority Leader Click to Enlarge Photo:

Dec 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KNSI) - Minnesota Senate Republicans were expected to select a new leader Tuesday, nearly two weeks after former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned her leadership post.

Senators were meeting away from the State Capitol Tuesday morning to allow those interested in succeeding Koch to make their pitch and answer questions of their fellow lawmakers.

Senators had planned to conduct Tuesday's meeting secretly, however, details of the Roseville hotel meeting location leaked to local media, who were there to greet Senate Republicans arriving before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The meeting was called after Koch, R-Buffalo, resigned her position as majority leader Dec. 15 and announced she would not seek re-election in 2012 following allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a Senate employee. Koch admitted to the improper relationship days later.

Speaking before the meeting on KNSI's "Hot Talk with the Ox," St. Cloud Senator John Pederson said he expected the potential candidates to succeed Koch would come from a collection of state Senators who had already expressed some public interest in the post.

"The people that have said publicly that they're interested, I think those are the folks you can expect to step forward," Pederson said. "There has not been a lot of phonecalling, there has not been a lot of lobbying going on. I think that's a combination of the holiday week and what's been going on. I think the candidates have just laid low on that type of thing."

Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel of Edina as well as current assistant Majority leaders Dave Senjem of Rochester and David Hann of Eden Prairie have been projected as the frontrunners to assume the GOP leadership role in the Senate.

Hann, who ran an unsuccessful bid to be Minnesota's governor back in 2009, could be a potentially problematic selection for lawmakers like Pederson, who said he wants to see a new leader committed to stewarding the role rather than accumulating power for future races.

"(Hann) does have a little bit of a reputation of wanting to run for a lot of different things," Pederson said. "Are they going to be running for this position as a stepping stone to a higher office? I am not interested in having one of those people as majority leader. Clearly, we have some examples of how people start to act a little differently once they choose to run for another office."

As for himself, Pederson said he was not interested in throwing his own hat in the ring for the job.

"There are some other folks I've been encouraging to run. I'm not sure whether or not they're going to do that," Pederson said. Pederson would not comment on which fellow Senators he would back for the post.

"I think their speeches and the way they address the group (Tuesday) will be critical," Pederson said.

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