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Senate Democrats pick Bakk as leader

ST. PAUL -- Tom Bakk will be Minnesota Senate minority leader, in charge of Democrats in the chamber.

The northeast Minnesota senator takes over a caucus shrunk by Tuesday's election and out of the majority for the first time since legislative candidates were on partisan ballots. Republicans took control of the Legislature Tuesday; in the Senate the GOP rules by a 37-30 margin.

Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller earlier this week announced he was not interested in continuing to lead the caucus.

The vote came Thursday behind closed doors in a St. Paul hotel.

Bakk, 56, is serving his third Senate term after four House terms. He and his wife, Laura, have four children and live on Lake Vermilion with a Cook address. He is a former labor official.

He has been the Senate Taxes Committee chairman and tried in the past to be majority leader.

Bakk ran for governor this year, but failed to get enough traction.

In the days following an election, legislative caucuses pick their leaders. All should be selected by Saturday afternoon.