Senate GOP to elect Koch replacement on Dec. 27

Republicans in the Minnesota Senate will hold a private caucus on Tuesday, Dec. 27 to elect a new Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate The group has to get together for the vote since Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, announced on Thursday that she was resigning from her leadership position. Koch quit one day after four Republican Senators confronted her over an inappropriate relationship that she allegedly had with a male staffer. The staffer has not been released and Koch has not returned calls since the allegations surfaced.

The majority leader is the most powerful member of the Senate and is responsible for appointing committee chairs, organizing floor hearings, setting the Senate budget and assembling staff. Several people, including David Hann of Eden Prairie, Geoff Michel of Edina, Dave Thompson of Lakeville and Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria, have expressed interest in the position.

Meanwhile, a Wednesday hearing scheduled to discuss the Senate budget has been canceled. Senate GOP spokesman Chris Van Guilder says the Rules Committee hearing was canceled to allow the next majority leader to have input. Koch currently chairs the committee and there were some uncertainties as to whether anyone else could call the hearing. Van Guilder says Koch and Interim Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel decided to cancel the meeting. Michael Jungbauer of East Bethel is also lobbying the public for the job.

“Sen Michel spoke with Sen Koch and they decided together to move the date to allow the newly-elected leader the opportunity for additional input,” Van Guilder wrote in an e-mail.

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