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Gimse is happy with new Senate Majority Leader Senjem, confirms Hann as other candidate

WILLMAR - Sen. Joe Gimse said he's pleased with the choice he and other Senate Republicans made last night in selecting Sen. David Senjem as their new majority leader.

Senjem, of Rochester, will replace Amy Koch, who stepped down from the top job earlier this month after acknowledging she'd had an inappropriate relationship with a male staffer.

Before Christmas Gimse said he was considering running for majority leader.

But during a brief interview Tuesday night - after the 37 Senate Republicans ended an 11-hour closed-door session to select a new leader - Gimse said he did not put his name up for consideration.

After Senjem "stepped up" to run for the post Gimse said he decided not to challenge him.

He said Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie was the other senator in the two-person race, which was decided after casting just one ballot.

Gimse said there were no hard feelings with the results of the vote and the caucus is "unified and behind" Senjem.

He said Koch did attend the session and was "welcomed warmly" by fellow Republican senators.

Gimse said Koch reiterated her apology and said she was "very sorry for the situation she put our caucus in."

He said, "We forgave her and we're moving on."

Gimse said Koch is a "wonderful person who did a lot for the caucus" and that she needs time to "heal" her family.

Time and positive leadership will also help heal the caucus, he said.

Prior to the vote for a new majority leader, Gimse said Senate Republicans had a "long" and "lively" debate about the kind of person the caucus needed at the top. He said there was discussion on leadership styles, how the new leader would manage the caucus on the Senate floor and the importance of the new leader to listen to caucus members and move their issues forward.

Gimse said he's confident the right choice was made in Senjem.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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