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Senate Leader Tom Bakk faces a challenge from Senator Susan Kent for Minority Leader Seat

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SAINT PAUL, MN-- There is growing drama within Minnesota's DFL Party.

Longtime Senate Leader Tom Bakk is facing a challenge from another Democrat, for his role as minority leader.

The challenge is coming from Senator Susan Kent.

There has always been a clash between DFL members from the north and south, but Iron Range author Aaron Brown says this challenge is about demographic change within the party.

"That is a sign of really where the DFL party has been headed. More appealing to educated suburban voters who are more focused on not just necessarily environmental issues, but education and those kinds of issues," Brown said.

Bakk has been a part of the Minnesota Legislature for 25 years and has spent the better part of this decade as DFL Senate Leader.

He's credited with helping the Iron Range economically, but his political strategies have drawn criticism from the younger members of the party.

"I think one of the biggest criticisms against Senator Bakk has been that he has kept a lot of debate and a lot of dealmaking out of the public eye and that is perhaps some of the reason behind the dissatisfaction in his caucus," Brown said.

With the DFL holding a caucus meeting to make the decision soon, it's hard to say whether Bakk will keep his leadership role in St. Paul.

"I don't dare offer a prediction. I only speculate that Senator Kent wouldn't have made this public announcement of a challenge if she didn't feel she had a good chance at getting those votes," Brown said.

We did reach out to both Senator Kent and Bakk.

Senator Bakk responded saying he doesn't discuss internal caucus matters.

Kent did not respond.

There is no date set for the caucus meeting.

John Cardinale

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